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Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Dies at Age 79

Supreme Court Justice Scalia was found dead Saturday morning at a luxury ranch in West Texas. He attended a private party at the ranch Friday night, and his body was discovered after he did not show up for breakfast Saturday morning. Information on cause of death was not immediately released.

In a statement Saturday afternoon, Texas Governor Greg Abbott called Justice Scalia an "unwaivering defender of the written Constitution and Rule of Law," adding "He was the solid rock who turned away so many attempts to depart from and distort the Constitution."

Nominated to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, Justice Scalia became the most ardent proponent of constitutional originalism on the Supreme Court bench. He furiously opposed the concept of a "living constitution", believing it is not within the judicial purview to interpret the Constitution as ever changing with a maturing society. Known as a writing tour de force, for his outgoing personality, and scathing dissents, Justice Scalia was a leader in the conservative legal world. Fellow conservative and Chief Justice Roberts issued the following statement on Saturday:

On behalf of the court and retired justices, I am saddened to report that our colleague Justice Antonin Scalia has passed away. He was an extraordinary individual and jurist, admired and treasured by his colleagues. His passing is a great loss to the court and the country he so loyally served. We extend our deepest condolences to his wife, Maureen, and his family.

People across the U.S. political spectrum are grieving for the loss of Justice Scalia.

The chatter about whether the Senate will or should approve an Obama nominee has already begun. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement saying "The American people‎ should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President." Opposing this view, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid tweeted "The President can and should send the Senate a nominee right away. The Senate has a responsibility to fill vacancies as soon as possible...Would be unprecedented in recent history for SCOTUS to go year with vacancy. And shameful abdication of our constitutional responsibility."

Click here for the full New York Times obituary for Justice Scalia.

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