The news has just broken that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, 79, was found dead today in his room at a luxury resort in west Texas where he was attending a private event. He apparently died of natural causes.
Scalia has been a major force in American law since President Reagan nominated him to the Supreme Court in 1986. His opinions, including his trenchant dissents, have shaped every area of our law. A leader of the conservative wing of the Court, the force of his intellect, both on and off the bench, was immense.
The immediate question on many minds, of course, is whether his seat will be filled before President Obama leaves office. Given the growing differences between the president and the Republican majority in the Senate, especially over the reach of executive power under the Constitution, it is likely that the seat will remain vacant until the next president is in office.
May Justice Scalia rest in peace.