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Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is dead at 79

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    In this Wednesday, April 7, 2004 file photo, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia speaks to Presbyterian Christian High School students in Hattiesburg, Miss. On Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, the U.S. Marshall’s Service confirmed that Scalia has died at the age of 79. (Gavin Averill/The Hattiesburg American via AP)

WASHINGTON >> Antonin Scalia, the influential conservative and most provocative member of the Supreme Court, died Saturday. He was 79.

The U.S. Marshals Service in Washington confirmed Scalia’s death at a private residence in the Big Bend area of West Texas. Spokeswoman Donna Sellers said Scalia had retired the previous evening and was found dead in the morning after he did not appear for breakfast.

Scalia used his keen intellect and missionary zeal in an unyielding attempt to move the court farther to the right after his 1986 appointment by President Ronald Reagan. He also advocated tirelessly in favor of originalism, the method of constitutional interpretation that looks to the meaning of words and concepts as they were understood by the Founding Fathers.

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.”

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      • Justice Scalia believe in our Judeo Christian values that was founded by our Founders.
        He was a Justice that believe in protecting the unborn. Not murdering the unborn a doctrine of the Democratic party. He believes marriage is for one man and one woman. Not like the Democratic party who believes that perversion marriage deserves equality.
        Even though this cultural believes in Evil as good and Good as evil. Justice Scalia was for common sense and not for political corectness, a doctrine of the Democratic party.

        • The role of the Supreme Court is to uphold the Constitution, which, I think, includes separation of church and state and freedom of choice in religious affiliation or not to have one. So stick your bigoted Judeo mambojumbo up your dark place.

        • @blackmurano: Justice Scalia was one of the advocates of the dubious doctrine of the “originalism theory,” the notion that the Constitution should only be interpreted in light of the Founders’ “original intent,” which of course is largely a matter of deciding which Founders you like to agree with and how you personally interpret them.

      • Clarence Darrow’s quote (often attributed to Mark Twain) is appropriate:

        All men have an emotion to kill; when they strongly dislike some one they involuntarily wish he was dead. I have never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction.

  • Well republicans, you probably will hold up any appointment by Obama but just remember, if sweet Hillary becomes president, she might just appoint Obama to the SC. I don’t think you will want to know who Bernie would appoint. lol So I suggest you just bite the bullet, swallow hard and accept the moderate that Obama will nominate.

        • Hey boots… Senator John McCain ran for the Presidency of this country – yet he was born in another country. That’s understandable since he was born into a military family who are always travelint.
          How about Mitt Romney. The last Republican Presidential nominee. Mitt was born in Mexico.
          So what’s the big deal with Cruz being born to an American mother but his birthplace was Canada?
          Barack Hussein Obama may been born in Kenya and not in Hawaii.

        • Actually blackmurano, McCain was born in the Panama Cannel which was under American control at the time. His parents were in the military so yes, it is obvious he is a naturalized American.

      • I hope you realize the total hypocrisy of your post. Scalia would turn over in his grave to hear an “American” have a total disregard for the bedrock of our democracy – freedom of speech.

        • You’re wrong about that of course. That’s because Justice Scalia actually understood what the phrase “freedom of speech” means. You don’t. It has everything to do with government restraint and nothing whatever to do with the reactions of private citizens to the writing of another. Nothing. Zero. It might help to educate yourself just a little bit about what the Constitution says and what it does.

      • Sarge, you are only saying that because you don’t agree w/Boots’ opinion. Boots has as much right to share a view as you. You can’t tell people to “shut up” (very rude). Not if you want people to listen courteously when you express your views.

      • The Donald might even be worse than sweet Hillary from a republican point of view. No telling what he would do. I suspect he would make Bernie look like a far right conservative. lol

        • It is my observation that every time you make a statement that is either illogical, only partially correct, or unlikely, you finish it off with an LOL, as thought that somehow gives it the stamp of credibility.

      • That is correct. Democrats are good because they believe in certain ideals. Republicans are bad as they have forsaken their values. Deficits don’t matter is their motto.

        • The Dem ideals of endless foreign wars, intergenerational welfare to destroy black families, the for-profit prison industry’s war on drugs and spineless, inconsistent foreign policy. They must be so proud!

    • Holdup your far left liberal President Obama appointment to replace a great conservative U.S. Supreme Justice, you bet!!!. The Republican control Senate will not allow this worst President, America ever had to balance a court by appointing his liberal nominee?? No way Jose….
      As Hillary getting elected President. I don’t think America wants another Obama. Hillary Clinton is another Obama clone.
      Democrats desperately want Hillary to get in so she can pardon herself for the criminal acts done while in the position of Secretary of State. I do hope the next President, a Republican, will take Hillary to court for some prison time.

  • Very sad for out country. I do hope that the authorities conduct a serious investigation into Scalia’s death. Just what is a death by natural causes, that has always puzzled me.
    A detained autopsy needs to be conducted. To pronounce his death due to natural causes, seems premature unless authorities do not want anyone taking a close look.
    You know, nothing to see here, move along.

  • Please notice that the republicans are the first to politicize his death-fear no less. In this era of Donald Trump and his disengenuous ilk (sarge) it is refreshing to hear of change at hand. Let us usher in understanding and trustt and let the president do his job-appoint modern representation to the court.

  • U.S. Supeme Court Justice Scalia’s death is a stunning blow to the conservative movement. I’m sure the Republican majority in Congress will NOT let our Democratic far-left liberal President Barack Hussien Obama have a hand in Scalia’s replacement. Republican U.S. Senate majority leader Senator McConnell already said that won’t happen.
    As a conservative, I would like to see Judge Andrew Napolitano, Fox news Judge, as our next U.S. Supreme court justice.

    • Boy, I wish our president was “far left”! That would be fantastic. Of course the president picks the nominee. That’s the way it works. I was sad at all the nominees chosen by Republican presidents. But those were the breaks; they were in office at the time. Then when a Dem was president I could hope the picks would be better. You see, it was set up that way, so that no one party would make Supreme Court nominations all the time. That would mean one party having too much tower. The constitution was cleverly designed to keep that from happening. If you’re just going to have one party in charge, you might as well have a dictatorship. And not bother with elections. I actually hope the GOP does hold up the nomination. It would be sweet to have them acting so obstructionist during an election year! I think it will backfire on them tremendously. My uncle (a Republican) has already written to McConnell begging him not to be obstructionist; “You’re making us look bad.”

    • Please learn to read before attempting to write.

      See below under the handle, “thos,” for an example of the kind of literate and articulate nutzery to which all stump-thumping 50’s era time capsule escapees should aspire.

  • He died a sudden and unexplained death.

    How convenient for certain individuals.

    Maybe it was not due to “natural causes”. Doubt that? Check this out:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/texas-tv-station-scalia-died-of-a-heart-attack/2016/02/14/938e2170-d332-11e5-9823-02b905009f99_story.html

    No autopsy?

    Pronounced by a local JP who did not even see the body before it was hastily taken away?

    Remember the famous video that ’caused’ the Benghazi massacre less then two months before the re-election of the current occupant of the White House?

    Remember the alleged “suicides” of Vince Foster and CNO Admiral Jeremy Boorda that happened on Slick Willie’s watch?

    Or how about the mysterious plane crash in Croatia that killed his secretary of commerce Ron Brown

    Who are the “news” media covering up for THIS time?

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