Antonin Scalia died today, aged 79, while staying at a Texas ranch, on a hunting trip. He did not show up for breakfast, and someone associated with the ranch went to look for him. He was found dead in his room.
The party were at Cibolo Creek Ranch, hunting quail. The ranch is approximately 33 miles south of Marfa, Texas. Marfa, with a population close to 2,000, is a remote town in the high desert of the Trans-Pecos in far West Texas, between the Davis Mountains and Big Bend National Park.
The most conservative Supreme Court Judge, Scalia was first appointed to the District of Columbia Circuit by Ronald Reagan. The Senate confirmed him for that position on August 5, 1982, and he was sworn in 12 days later.
When he was nominated for the Supreme Court in 1986, the Senate Judiciary Committee began its hearings in August, immediately after a rancorous fight over judge Rehnquist. It was said the committee did not want another fight, and did not dwell on controversial abortion or civil rights issues. He was confirmed 98-0.
A gentleman with a sense of humor and a caustic tongue, the Harvard Law School-trained Scalia was the first Italian-American Supreme Court nominee, and the longest-serving justice on the Supreme Court.
As could be expected, conservatives liked him, but liberals generally did not.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott released a statement in a press release:
“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.”
Ben Shapiro, writing at Breitbart News talked about Scalia’s solid interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. He wrote, “It’s a sad commentary on the state of conservative politics that the only thing standing between the United States and the death of its founding document was a brilliant 79-year-old jurist. But unless Republicans stand up on their hind legs now, that will certainly be the case.”