WASHINGTON -- The body of West Virginia Democrat Robert C. Byrd will lie Thursday in repose in the Senate chamber, where he served for more than half a century.
Byrd, who died early Monday at 92, was fond of saying that he loved the institution more than its members. He was the unquestioned expert on the Senate's bewildering rules and traditions, and he was the longest-serving member of Congress in history. He was third in the line of presidential succession, behind Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Law enforcement officials and a Senate aide said Byrd's casket will lie in repose in the Senate chamber, rather than the Capitol Rotunda.
There is ample precedent for such ceremonies, but none has occurred since North Dakota Republican William Langer's funeral in 1959, according to the Senate Historian's Office.
Including Langer, 46 senators have lain in repose in the Senate chamber. One additional funeral, the first, was held there for a New Yorker who never was a senator: George Clinton, Thomas Jefferson's second vice president, lay in repose on April 21, 1812.
Others include South Carolina's John C. Calhoun in 1850, Kentucky's Henry Clay in 1852 and Wisconsin's Joseph McCarthy in 1957.