Conservative and often controversial Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, 79, was found dead of apparent natural causes this morning.
Scalia, who was appointed to the high court by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, was a stalwart of the conservative bent of the Court.
Often his remarks and actions were seen as a pox by the liberal portion of the nation while endearing to the right.
Scalia was a guest at the Cibolo Bend Ranch in the Big Bend area of Texas when he was discovered dead this morning.
Many had thought a vacancy may occur on the Court earlier, but presumed it would be Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She, however, opted not to retire.
With the vacancy caused by Scalia’s death there will be a push by Democrats for President Barack Obama to name a successor to the bench, who will turn the Court from conservative leaning to liberal leaning. However, with Republicans holding the majority in the US Senate, the vacancy most likely will not be filled until the next President takes office.
Scalia, whether loved or hated, will leave a dent in the cases considered by the Court. He was in the minority of such landmark decisions such as upholding the Affordable Care Act and the decision which made same gender marriage legal across the nation.
With this presidential election cycle already destroying the conventional wisdom, it is certain that the passing of Scalia and the vacancy on the Supreme Court will become a major campaign issue with both Democrats and Republicans.
The pressure to appoint a new justice will be intense on the White House. Equally, the vise will be twisted to the extreme on the Senate to not confirm any appointee.
Scalia was the first Italian-American appointed to the Court. He was also the longest serving justice of the current bench.
From the Cornfield, no matter your political persuasion, Antonin Scalia was a legal force and a brilliant mind impacting our judicial system from the top to the bottom.
Thoughts and condolences to the Scalia family.
May he rest in peace.