US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Dies at 79
Antonin Scalia, the influential conservative justice on the Supreme Court, has died of natural causes at the age of 79.
The U.S. Marshal's Service in Washington confirmed Scalia's death at a private residence in the Big Bend area of South Texas.
Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevara who serves as a justice of the peace told the Washington Post that Scalia's doctor confirmed that he "was having health issues."
She said that this information would be added to his death certificate when it is issued later this week.
The service's spokeswoman, Donna Sellers, said Scalia had retired for the evening and was found dead Saturday morning when he did not appear for breakfast.
In a statement Saturday, Chief Justice John G. Roberts said: "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."
Justice Scalia, the first Italian American to serve on the court, was nominated by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. He was known for his unwavering faith that was the backbone to his conservative beliefs and upholding Constitutional values.
His absence could change the outcome on laws that are critically important to conservatives, such as religous liberty, abortion and Obamacare.
The court's upcoming look at the health care overhaul will be its fourth case involving the 2010 law.
This time, the focus is on the arrangement the Obama administration worked out to spare faith-based hospitals, colleges and charities from paying for contraceptives for women covered under their health plans, while still ensuring that those women can obtain birth control at no extra cost as the law requires.
For faith groups the accommodation still violates their religious beliefs.
A tie vote here would sow confusion because the appellate courts that have looked at the issue have not all come out the same way.
Other big cases before the justices this term include affirmative action and immigration.
Many of Scalia's colleagues continue to honor his legacy.
"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," said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
"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," Abbott concluded.
"Justice Scalia had a keen understanding of what our Founding Fathers intended and dedicated his life to carrying out the rule of law", said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. Justice Scalia will be deeply missed by so many who understood and respected his passion for justice and the rule of law."
Be sure to watch The 700 Club Monday to hear Jay Sekulow's talk about Justice Scalia life and legacy.
Justice Antonin Scalia's life and death define the vital issues of our time — faith, family, and freedom — the historic bedrocks of American culture and American exceptionalism," said Professor Emeritus, Clemson University Charles Dunn.
Dunn also served as Dean of the Regent University School of Government. "The Supreme Court has lost perhaps its most able thinker and personable member, but his death lights the pathway to recovery of our national character. Solomon put it well in Ecclesiastes 7:1: 'A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth."
Liberty Counsel shared their condolences in a recent statement but they warn that with "the passing of Justice Scalia, the future of the High Court and the future of America is hanging in the balance. The Senate must not confirm any nominee to the Supreme Court from President Obama."
Reports say that Scalia went quail hunting at Cibolo Creek Ranch outside of Marfa, Texas but the cause of death is unknown.
Scalia was born in Trenton, New Jersey, on March 11, 1936. Prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court, Scalia was appointed Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1982.
President Barack Obama declared that he would seek to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Justice Scalia.