This morning, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg became the first woman to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol.
And there was a local connection as a joint military Honor Guard took Ginsburg’s body into the rotunda.
That Honor Guard was led by U.S. Army Capt. Shaye Haver, one of the first two women to graduate from Ranger School.
It was subtle but fitting.
Many people watching a military Honor Guard carry Justice Ginsburg’s body into the U.S. Capitol Friday didn’t notice that it was led by a woman.
Haver blazed her own trail five years ago, graduating from Ranger School, the Army’s toughest combat course.
The moment wasn’t lost on Donna Matturro McAleer, a 1987 West Point graduate and author of “Porcelain on Steel: Women of West Point’s Long Gray Line.”
“The beauty is that Capt. Shaye Haver was one of the first two women to earn the Ranger tab in the U.S. Army. She’s one of the first couple of women to lead a company in the 3rd Infantry Regiment, part of the Old Guard. It is most fitting that women are leading this tribute to Justice Ginsburg and her final resting place,” McAleer said.
Ginsburg spent her legal and judicial career fighting for women like Haver and those who have followed her into the Infantry.
Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion in 1996 when the high court opened up the all-male Viriginia Military Institute to women.
“Most appropriate is a quote in that opinion,” said McAleer, who lives in Utah. “‘That the generalization about the way women are, estimates of what is appropriate for most women no longer justified in denying opportunity to women whose talents and capacity place them outside the average description.’ Well, Capt. Shaye Haver is outside the average description.”
McAleer believes Ginsburg would have approved Haver leading the Honor Guard carrying the justice’s body.
“I think the justice is smiling right now.”