U.S Leaders React to Death of U.S Supreme Court Justice Scalia
Antonin Scalia, the influential conservative Supreme Court Justice, died of natural causes this morning at a resort in the Big Bend area of South Texas. He was 79.
The U.S. Marshals Service says Scalia had retired for the evening and was found dead Saturday morning when he did not appear for breakfast.
Some are calling his death a major setback for the conservative movement. The Supreme Court was set to decide the first major abortion case in 10 years, as well as rule on voting rights, affirmative action and immigration.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reacted to the news of Scalia’s death by saying Saturday that Scalia’s vacancy should not be filled until the next president is sworn into office: “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.”
Former President George W. Bush reacted to the news by calling Scalia “a towering figure and important judge.”
President Obama was golfing in California. The White House issued the following statement: “This afternoon the President was informed of the passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia,” he said. “The President and First Lady extend their deepest condolences to Justice Scalia’s family.”
In a statement Saturday, Chief Justice John G. Roberts called Scalia, “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.”
Scalia was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan. He was confirmed by the Senate 98-0.
Scalia tried to use his keen legal intellect to coax the court farther to the right. He was said to believe in “original intent,” but expressed an even purer of the law, saying, “It is the law that governs, not the intent of the lawgiver. Men may intend what they will; but it is only the laws that they enact which bind us.”
His 2008 opinion for the court in favor of gun rights is considered by some his crowning moment in more than 30 years on the bench.
He said a judge has to follow the law and the Constitution, and not his own beliefs. He was a strong advocate for privacy in favoring restrictions on police searches and protections for defendants’ rights. But he also voted consistently to allow states the right to outlaw abortions, to allow a closer relationship between government and religion, to permit executions and to limit lawsuits.
A committed Catholic, Scalia said the Founding Fathers never intended to banish religion from government. He said last month that God has been good to the U.S. because Americans honor God.
Scalia believed it was a mistake to consider the Constitution a “living” document. He told students at Southern Methodist University the Constitution was “dead, dead, dead.” And that those who believe the Constitution is a “living” document mean it’s flexible and changes with the times.
He also bemoaned the state of the federal judiciary, complaining in 2011 that the quality of federal judges was suffering.
Scalia told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Congress turns too many cases into federal crimes, creating the need for too many judges.
He complained to senators that, “Federal judges ain’t what they used to be.”
In his 1986 Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, Scalia said, “My only agenda is to be a good judge.”
Report via CBN News
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