Casket of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court building

Photo of Justice Ginsburg's casket at the entrance to the U.S. Supreme Court. Taken by Tatiana Cherry-Santos '21. 

10.07.2020
By Tatiana Cherry-Santos ’21

Washington Semester intern visits U.S. Supreme Court to honor RBG

This fall, Tatiana Cherry-Santos ’21 is in Washington, D.C., interning at Fellowship Square, a nonprofit that provides quality housing for older, low-income adults. Last month, six days after the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Cherry-Santos paid tribute to the legal, cultural icon by visiting the Supreme Court on the day Ginsburg lay in repose at the building’s entrance. “Justice Ginsburg is a huge inspiration,” said Cherry-Santos, a Spanish major and American Politics minor who plans to attend law school after graduation. “She made significant impacts on how I, as a woman, can enjoy my life and privacy. She spoke up for women, minorities, and the LGBTQ community. Her legacy will live on.”

“Not only was I standing in front of the Supreme Court of the United States, but I was standing there bearing witness to a monumental moment. ”

Tatiana Cherry-Santos ’21, student intern in Washington, D.C.

Cherry-Santos wrote the following about her experience:

Ever since arriving in Washington, D.C. for the Lutheran College Washington Semester program this fall, visiting the U.S. Supreme Court was at the top of my to-do list. While settling in and navigating my internship and classes, I quickly began putting the visit lower on that list.

A few weeks later, my phone was pinging with multiple notifications from news outlets and iMessage. My eyes scanned the headlines, and for a moment I stood with a blank expression until another ping of my phone brought me back to reality. I was unsure what exactly to feel while reading headlines.

“Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dies at 87”

A sense of sadness and shock soon washed over me, and I knew I had to go to the Supreme Court that week. On Sept. 24 at 8 p.m., I made my way to the Capitol South metro stop with two other students. We walked over and found ourselves in a line with many others, waiting to reach the front of the Supreme Court.

There was a low buzzing all around as everyone in line felt the weight of the moment. Once we got to the front, we were instructed to take our photos and make our way across to maintain the continuous flow. But when I reached the middle of the row, I felt paralyzed. Not only was I standing in front of the Supreme Court of the United States, but I was standing there bearing witness to a monumental moment.

It was overwhelming as I tried to steady my hands to take a photo. I took everything in — the marble, the words carved into the building. The casket.

To be honest, words cannot truly describe what I was feeling in that moment. It was surreal and beautiful and devastating, all at once.

That moment will forever be inexpressible.