Weeks after her death, Saturday Night Live honored Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a touching moment in the season 46 premiere. For several years, series regular Kate McKinnon has been playing Ginsburg in various SNL sketches. In the new episode of SNL, McKinnon suited up in the familiar black robe and prop glasses for what could be the very last time, pausing the comedy to acknowledge Ginsburg’s life and legacy.
The moment came at the tail end of the episode’s Weekend Update segment. Before cutting to a commercial, the camera pans over to reveal Kate McKinnon as RBG seated in the front row of the audience. Without saying a word, she looks at the camera and places her hand over her heart, taking a small bow with the crowd applauding. This is followed by a black-and-white image of Ginsburg’s robe and glasses, along with a message reading, “Rest in Power.”
Ginsburg was the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. She was nominated by Bill Clinton in 1993, after spending many years fighting for gender equality and women’s rights. At the age of 87, Ruth Bader Ginsburg died last month due to complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer. Following Ginsburg’s passing, McKinnon released a statement addressing her relationship with the Supreme Court Justice.
“For so many of us, Justice Ginsburg was a real-life superhero: a beacon of hope, a warrior for justice, a robed crusader who saved the day time and again,” McKinnon said in the statement. “I could always feel the overwhelming love and gratitude that the audience had for her. It was one of the great honors of my life to meet Justice Ginsburg, to shake her hand, and to thank her for her lifetime of service to this country.”
The moment seemed to make viewers of the series emotional as well. “Kate McKinnon as RBG one last time. This is such a lovely way to do it,” tweeted one fan. “Kate McKinnon and SNL’s tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg was perfect. Thank you for everything, Justice Ginsburg. I promise we will continue the fight,” another posted.
SNL also satirized last week’s presidential debate with the cold open segment at the beginning of the show. Beck Bennett portrayed moderator Chris Wallace while Alec Baldwin was back once again as Donald Trump. Jim Carrey also made his debut in the skit as presidential hopeful Joe Biden, and Maya Rudolph made a special appearance as Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris. The sketch took several jabs at both Trump and Biden, mocking the candidates relentlessly and spoofing the nonstop arguing that took place during the debate.
The SNL premiere also featured host Chris Rock and musical guest Megan Thee Stallion. In the coming weeks, we’ll be seeing Bill Burr with Morgan Wallen and Issa Rae with Justin Bieber. We’ll probably be seeing plenty more of Baldwin’s Trump, Carrey’s Biden, and Rudolph’s Harris as well. The full Weekend Update video featuring McKinnon’s Ginsburg tribute can be seen below, which comes to us from Saturday Night Live on YouTube.