It was "an emotional day at the Supreme Court," NBC's Pete Williams reports.
Chief Justice John Roberts marked the death of Martin D. Ginsburg, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's husband, and the high court bade farewell to Justice John Paul Stevens, the man Elena Kagan has been nominated to replace, who retired from the high court today, after 35 years.
Stevens read a letter to his colleagues on the court:
Collegiality and independence characterize ourcommon endeavor. I thank you for your kind words. Far more importantly, Maryan and I thank each of you and each of your spouses -- present and departed -- for your warm and enduring friendship.
It has been an honor and a privilege to share custodial responsibility for a great institution with the eight of you and with ten of your predecessors. I have enjoyed working with each of you and with every member of the Supreme Court workforce that has always taken such excellent care of the Justices. If I have overstayed my welcome, it is because this is such a unique and wonderful job.
I wish you all the best.
In her summary of today's proceedings, Jessica Gresko, who covers the court for the Associated Press, noted "bow-tie wearing lawyers and spectators dotted the U.S. Supreme Court chamber on Monday, a nod to retiring justice John Paul Stevens and his signature neckwear."
If you have two minutes to kill, watch this exchange, excerpted from a vintage C-SPAN interview with Stevens, in which the associate justice explains why he always sported a dickie bow:
(Thanks to FishbowlDC for the footage.)