UPDATE 1-Mourners across the United States honor trailblazer Ginsburg

(Adds details on the scene from San Francisco)

WASHINGTON, Sept 19 (Reuters) - On a cool Friday night in a heated political year in Washington, several hundred people clutching candles, flowers and signs quietly gathered on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court to mark the death of liberal icon Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

A little before midnight, a woman sang the mourners' Kaddish, a traditional Jewish prayer for the dead, on the first night of Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the Jewish New Year.

"It just feels so nice to be out here with other people who feel the same way," said Dominik Radawski, 46, standing on the steps that are often the site of boisterous shouting matches when the court hears arguments on sensitive cases. "There's no one here being angry. It's this sense of quiet contemplation, this sense of respect."

A trailblazing women's rights lawyer before she joined the court in 1993, Ginsburg - popularly known by her initials RBG - emerged as an unlikely pop icon in recent years, her image emblazoned on coffee mugs, T-shirts and children's books.

"RBG inspired so many young women to follow their dreams and set their sights on things that so many people deemed impossible. And she made them possible," said Claire Shelby, 19. "I think that everyone out here tonight is here tonight to honor her memory and make sure she is not tarnished in history."

Democratic Party vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff, walked down to the Supreme Court on Saturday morning, according to a campaign aide.

In liberal San Francisco on Friday night, more than 200 mourners held a candlelight vigil and marched through the city's Castro district carrying a large sign that said "We won't let you down RBG."

Another tribute played out in New York, where an image of Ginsburg and the alternating messages "thank you" and "rest in power" were projected on the front of the New York State Civil Supreme Court building in Manhattan.

The quiet belied the likely political fight coming. Republican U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Friday said the Senate would vote on any replacement nominated by President Donald Trump, who now has a chance to appoint a third justice to the court, giving it a 6-3 conservative majority.

"This is the question everyone's thinking about tonight," said David Hill, 60. "Will someone like her come through again?" (Reporting by Andy Sullivan in Washington Additional reporting by Peter Szekely in New York Editing by Scott Malone and Matthew Lewis)

09/19/2020 15:40

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