The shocking news that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died of apparent natural causes on Saturday led to an immediate outpouring of grief and remembrance for the justice who had been sitting in the bench since 1986, when he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan. Chief Justice John Roberts quickly reacted to the news:
On behalf of the Court and retired Justices, I am saddened to report that our colleague Justice Antonin Scalia has passed away. He was 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. We extend our deepest condolences to his wife Maureen and his family.
Considering what a hero Scalia was in conservative circles, it seems hardly surprising Republican presidential candidates were also quick to chime in. Ted Cruz appears to have been the first to throw politics into the mix by saying that President Obama should not name Scalia’s successor.
Earlier, Cruz had issued a less political statement, calling Scalia “a champion of our liberties and a stalwart defender of the Constitution.”
Donald Trump also took to Twitter to express his condolences, characterizing Scalia’s death as “a massive setback for the Conservative movement and our COUNTRY!”
John Kasich described Scalia’s death as “a serious loss to our nation and the Court,” noting that the late justice “was an essential, principled force for conservative”
Marco Rubio got a bit personal in his remembrance saying that “one of the greatest honors in my life was to attend oral arguments during Town of Greece v. Galloway and see Justice Scalia eloquently defend religious freedom.” Rubio also implied Obama shouldn’t be the one to nominate the next justice: “The next president must nominate a justice who will continue Justice Scalia’s unwavering belief in the founding principles that we hold dear.”
Jeb Bush says he prayed for Scalia on Saturday afternoon, noting the justice “was devout in faith and has been brought home to God in heaven.” The presidential hopeful went on to describe Scalia as his “favorite justice” because “he took the Constitution, and the responsibility of judges to interpret it correctly, with the utmost seriousness.”
His brother, former President George W. Bush also praised Scalia. “Laura and I mourn the death of a brilliant jurist and important American. … He was a towering figure and important judge on our Nation’s highest court. He brought intellect, good judgment, and wit to the bench, and he will be missed by his colleagues and our country.”
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders said that while he “differed with Justice Scalia’s views and jurisprudence, he was a brilliant colorful, and outspoken member of the Supreme Court.”
Hillary Clinton said that while she “did not hold Justice Scalia’s views … he was a dedicated public servant who brought energy and passion to the bench.” She also criticized those who are calling for Scalia’s seat to remain vacant, saying they “dishonor our Constitution.”
This post was updated as more information became available.