Controversial Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Dead at 79

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Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States since 1986, has died at 79. Scalia was nominated by Ronald Reagan and was the first Italian-American justice. He leaves behind a conservative and provocative voting record (against abortion, pro death penalty, and pro gun, for starters). From CNN:

Justice Antonin Scalia’s death immediately triggered a monumental election-year battle in Washington over whether President Barack Obama should choose a successor who could tilt the Supreme Court toward liberals. Within two hours of Scalia’s death being reported, presidential candidates along with Republican and Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill were feuding over whether Obama should appoint a replacement for the eloquent and outspoken Scalia or wait for the next administration to make a decision. The battle lines underscored the huge political stakes in the 2016 election, which could cement the ideological balance of the court for years to come.

The arguments continued into last night’s Republican presidential debate, with the GOP candidates clearly against President Obama’s involvement in the appointment of a successor. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders commented on Scalia’s passing, with Sanders stating: “While I differed with Justice Scalia’s views and jurisprudence, he was a brilliant, colorful and outspoken member of the Supreme Court. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and his colleagues on the court who mourn his passing.”