UPDATE 9:00 p.m.: President Barack Obama delivered a statement late Saturday on the passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, saying, "Michelle and I join the nation in sending our deepest sympathy to Justice Scalia’s wife Maureen and their loving family." He added that the Supreme Court justice was a "brilliant legal mind with a pugnacious style, incisive wit, and colorful opinions."
President Obama also addressed what's been the hot-button topic following the news of Scalia's passing, which is whether Obama himself will be able to appoint a new Supreme Court justice before the end of his presidency. "I plan to fulfill my Constitutional responsibility to nominate a successor in due time," he said. "There’s plenty of time...for the Senate to fulfill its responsibility to give that person a fair hearing and a timely vote."
See original story below.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who was best known for being a conservative bigot, was found dead on a ranch in Marfa, Texas, this morning. He was 79. According to the San Antonio Express-News, Scalia was a guest at Cibolo Creek Ranch, just south of Marfa; he'd just arrived at the ranch on Friday, presumably to stay for the holiday weekend. On Friday night Scalia attended a private party with about 40 other guests, but he didn't appear at breakfast Saturday morning. Noticing his absence, a ranch employee went looking for him and discovered his body. He reportedly died of natural causes.
The U.S. Marshal Service, county sheriff, and FBI are all looking into his death, although there doesn't appear to be any evidence of foul play at this time. Scalia was first appointed to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1986 and was known for upholding conservative rhetoric in his Supreme Court decisions and dissents. Most recently he published a dissenting opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, otherwise known as the case that legalized gay marriage. "To allow the policy question of same-sex marriage to be considered and resolved by a select, patrician, highly unrepresentative panel of nine is to violate a principle even more fundamental than no taxation without representation: no social transformation without representation," he wrote, in an opinion that basically said the Supreme Court had no power to rule on same-sex marriage in the first place.
He was also against affirmative action because, according to one of his arguments, it "does not benefit African-Americans to get them into the University of Texas where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school where they do well." But despite their ideological differences Scalia was close friends with Ruth Bader Ginsberg, so he must've had a few redeeming qualities.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott's office released a statement following Scalia's death, which mourns the passing of a "man of God" and a "patriot."