Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia found dead
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Antonin Scalia was found dead Saturday at a luxury resort in West Texas.
Scalia was 79 at the time of his death. He would've been 80 next month.
The U.S. Marshals Service confirmed Scalia's death to the Associated Press.
MySanAntonio.com was credited with breaking the news. The news outlet reports Scalia was found at the Cibolo Creek Ranch.
Scalia was found dead after missing breakfast, the report goes on to say. There was no obvious evidence of foul play.
KVIA.com reported Scalia was in Texas for a hunting trip.
"Diocese of El Paso's Spokeswoman Liz O'Hara tells Abc-7 Catholic Priest Mike Alcuino out of Presidio was called to the ranch and administered Justice Scalia's last rights [sic] just moments ago," ABC7 reported at about 3:30 p.m.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called Scalia's death "devastating."
In a statement issued Saturday afternoon, Abbott wrote:
"Justice Antonin Scalia was a man of God, a patriot, and an unwavering defender of the written Constitution and the Rule of Law. He was the solid rock who turned away so many attempts to depart from and distort the Constitution. His fierce loyalty to the Constitution set an unmatched example, not just for judges and lawyers, but for all Americans. We mourn his passing, and we pray that his successor on the Supreme Court will take his place as a champion for the written Constitution and the Rule of Law. Cecilia and I extend our deepest condolences to his family, and we will keep them in our thoughts and prayers."
Scalia was the longest serving member of the Supreme Court at the time of his death.
He was appointed to the court by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. He was confirmed unanimously.
Scalia used his keen intellect and missionary zeal in an unyielding attempt to move the court farther to the right and to get it to embrace his "originalist" view of judging after his 1986 appointment by President Ronald Reagan.
His 2008 opinion for the court in favor of gun rights was his crowning moment in more than 30 years on the bench.
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- In victory or dissent, Scalia was a man of strong opinions
He was a strong advocate for privacy in favoring restrictions on police searches and protections for defendants' rights. But he also voted consistently to let states outlaw abortions, to allow a closer relationship between government and religion, to permit executions and to limit lawsuits.
Scalia's impact on the court was muted by his seeming disregard for moderating his views to help build consensus.
Republican Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz called Scalia an American Hero.
"We owe it to him, & the Nation, for the Senate to ensure that the next President names his replacement," Cruz continued in a tweet.
Former Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul tweeted, "Justice Scalia was a defender of the constitution, an important conservative voice in the court. He will be missed."
Republican front-runner Donald Trump said:
I would like to offer my sincerest condolences to the Scalia family after the passing of Justice Scalia. Justice Scalia was a remarkable person and a brilliant Supreme Court Justice, one of the best of all time. His career was defined by his reverence for the Constitution and his legacy of protecting Americans' most cherished freedoms. He was a Justice who did not believe in legislating from the bench and he is a person whom I held in the highest regard and will always greatly respect his intelligence and conviction to uphold the Constitution of our country. My thoughts and prayers are with his family during this time.
Scalia's impact on the court was muted by his seeming disregard for moderating his views to help build consensus, although he was held in deep affection by his ideological opposites Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan. Scalia and Ginsburg shared a love of opera. He persuaded Kagan to join him on hunting trips.
His 2008 opinion for the court in favor of gun rights drew heavily on the history of the Second Amendment and was his crowning moment on the bench.
He could be a strong supporter of privacy in cases involving police searches and defendants' rights. Indeed, Scalia often said he should be the "poster child" for the criminal defense bar.
But he also voted consistently to let states outlaw abortions, to allow a closer relationship between government and religion, to permit executions and to limit lawsuits.
He was in the court's majority in the 2000 Bush v. Gore decision, which effectively decided the presidential election for Republican George W. Bush. "Get over it," Scalia would famously say at speaking engagements in the ensuing years whenever the topic arose.
Bush later named one of Scalia's sons, Eugene, to an administration job, but the Senate refused to confirm him. Eugene Scalia served as the Labor Department solicitor temporarily in a recess appointment.
A smoker of cigarettes and pipes, Scalia enjoyed baseball, poker, hunting and the piano. He was an enthusiastic singer at court Christmas parties and other musical gatherings, and once appeared on stage with Ginsburg as a Washington Opera extra.
Ginsburg once said that Scalia was "an absolutely charming man, and he can make even the most sober judge laugh." She said that she urged her friend to tone down his dissenting opinions "because he'll be more effective if he is not so polemical. I'm not always successful."
Pending Supreme Court cases that were argued in front of Scalia will be decided -- if they can be, report's CNN Jeffrey Toobin.
In the event of a tie, the lower court decision would be affirmed, but the case wouldn't become a Supreme Court precedent.
This story will be updated.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.