November/December, 1998 Volume XIII Number 3
Pro-abort retired Supreme Court justice dies;
Activists put damper on funeral
Preceding Justice Powell’s casket out of the church are, from bottom left, Chief Justice William Renquist, Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Anthony M. Kennedy and Clarence Thomas, and from bottom right, Justices John Paul Stevens, Antonin Scalia, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.
Richmond, VA - The U.S. Supreme Court and Virginia's political establishment laid to rest one of their own, burying retired justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. after a church service celebrating what his friends called "the gentlemanly grace and passion for public duty" that took him from a rural childhood to the peaks of power in this city and in Washington.
"Lewis Powell was a patriot, in the old-fashioned sense of that term," said Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, who led his eight court colleagues and former justice Byron R. White into a downtown Presbyterian church that quickly filled with 900 mourners.
But mourners were not the only ones present. Two pro-life activists put the damper on the funeral when they held large photos of dead babies with the words "Powell's Legacy" emblazoned across the top.
Powell was one of the majority on the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion in 1973.
"Of course we received the usually comments about being in bad taste, and being disrespectful," said Don Spitz, one of the anti-abortion demonstrators. "What I consider being in bad taste was to have a service for this babykiller in a Christian church."
Mark Goodell, who organized the picket, teamed up with Spitz in the effort and held two of the oversized dead baby photos.
"We were directly outside the steps where everyone came out," Spitz said. "It was impossible not to see us. The nine supremes came out and tried to ignore us, but it was impossible. Every time someone looked in our direction they saw the murdered babies."
Powell, who was on the high court for 15 years until leaving in 1987, died at 90.
Much of the day evoked the old South - from the church's location on Monument Avenue, which is dotted with tributes to Civil War generals, to Powell's burial in Hollywood Cemetery, the final resting place of U.S. presidents James Monroe and John Tyler, and Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy.
"Powell was a 'New South' man," said one pro-lifer who asked not to be named. "Like the Old South reliance on dehumanizing black people, the New South relies on dehumanizing the unborn."
Powell in 1950: Being sworn in to the Richmond, Virgina, school board.
Security was extraordinarily tight: Scores of law enforcement officers, including rooftop patrols, scoured the church grounds.
Spitz and Goodell waited silently outside the church during the service for Powell.
"Eventually, the feds and local cops moved me across the street behind police tape," Spitz noted.
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Pro-abort retired Supreme Court justice dies
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