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Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia dead at 79, according to multiple reports

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(WHNT) – Multiple sources in Texas report that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has passed away at age 79.

Scalia carried a strongly conservative record during his time on the court. He championed a philosophy called “originalism,” meaning he interprets the constitution based on how he interprets the original authors would have intended when the document was written.

He was appointed by Ronald Reagan on September 26, 1986.

Reports say Scalia was found dead of natural causes.

President Obama would have to nominate his replacement, though that person would have to be confirmed by the senate.

Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) released the following statement on Scalia’s passing:

“Today I join all Americans in mourning the loss of Justice Antonin Scalia.  There has never been such a strong voice for the Constitution on the Supreme Court, and he will be sorely missed.  Justice Scalia will be forever remembered for his dynamic intellect, his deep respect for the rule of law, and his unwavering commitment to the principles on which our nation was founded.  My thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time. This great loss brings on a great responsibility for the United States Senate.  Justice Scalia’s replacement should be considered carefully and thoughtfully because it is vital to our nation’s future that we confirm a justice who will continue his legacy.  I will adamantly oppose any attempt by President Obama to fill this vacancy during the remainder of his term.”

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) released this statement:

“The country has suffered a tremendous loss of a true American treasure. Justice Scalia was unquestionably one of the greatest jurists in our nation’s history. His commitment to the Constitution and the rule of law above all else was the very definition of what a judge should be. His approach was to enforce the Constitution and the law as written, not as some might wish it to be. This defends the right of the people to have their will enforced over the personal preferences of judges. His brilliant and incisive writings time and time again exposed the overreach of activist judges. Indeed, it is impossible to overstate the impact his jurisprudence has had in moving the Court towards the classical understanding of law. It is wrong to view the Court’s division as a matter of politics, at least for the orthodox judges. They found their judgment on law not politics. It is our responsibility to the American people and our Constitutional heritage to ensure that Justice Scalia’s legacy on the Court is carried on.”

Representative Robert Aderholt (R-4th) also released this statement:

“It’s really sad to hear about the passing of Justice Scalia today.  He certainly was a man of integrity and certainly a man of honor who did so much for the Constitution and upholding the Constitution of the United States of America.    He was someone that so many people looked up to because of his great wisdom and as a jurist on the Supreme Court.  No only is the death of course saddening, but also how the balance of the court will change.  He was one of those strong conservatives that stood with the conservative members of the court for so many years.  His place there will be truly missed.”