The Senior Associate Justice is believed to have died from natural causes. He was 79.
Scalia had arrived on Friday at Cibolo Creek Ranch, a resort located in the Big Bend region of West Texas, for a hunting trip. He partook in a private party at the resort with about 40 other attendees. When the justice did not attend breakfast on Saturday morning, a person working at the ranch went to check on him and found his body.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement Saturday afternoon confirming Scalia’s passing and offering condolences to the justice’s family.
Reporters and followers of the Supreme Court expressed shock at Scalia’s death on Twitter.
I cannot even imagine what it will be like going into the #SCOTUS and not seeing him there. This is truly shocking.— Kimberly Atkins (@KimberlyEAtkins) February 13, 2016
Justice Scalia has passed away. We send our sincere condolences to the Scalia family.— SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) February 13, 2016
Appointed to the Supreme Court in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan, Scalia was the longest-serving justice on the court. Prior to his appointment, Scalia was the United States Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel under President Gerald Ford and a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
He leaves behind a wife, nine children, and 28 grandchildren.
Scalia’s passing leaves a vacancy on the Supreme Court. Until another justice is nominated and sworn in to the seat, 4-4 decisions made by the court result in the affirmation of the lower court decision without creating a Supreme Court precedent.
This story will be updated as we receive more info.