Antonin Scalia, the influential conservative and most provocative member of the Supreme Court, has died. He was 79.
The U.S. Marshals Service in Washington confirmed Scalia's death at a private residence in the Big Bend area of South Texas.
The service's spokeswoman, Donna Sellers, says Scalia had retired for the evening and was found dead Saturday morning when he did not appear for breakfast.
Scalia used his keen intellect and missionary zeal in an unyielding attempt to move the court farther to the right and to get it to embrace his "originalist" view of judging after his 1986 appointment by President Ronald Reagan.
His 2008 opinion for the court in favor of gun rights was his crowning moment in more than 30 years on the bench.
He was a strong advocate for privacy in favoring restrictions on police searches and protections for defendants' rights. But he also voted consistently to let states outlaw abortions, to allow a closer relationship between government and religion, to permit executions and to limit lawsuits.
Scalia's impact on the court was muted by his seeming disregard for moderating his views to help build consensus.
Sen. Mitch McConnell released this statement:
"Today our country lost an unwavering champion of a timeless document that unites each of us as Americans. Justice Scalia's fidelity to the Constitution was rivaled only by the love of his family: his wife Maureen his nine children, and his many grandchildren. Through the sheer force of his intellect and his legendary wit, this giant of American jurisprudence almost singlehandedly revived an approach to constitutional interpretation that prioritized the text and original meaning of the Constitution. Elaine and I send our deepest condolences to the entire Scalia family."
Sen. Dick Durbin said, "Justice Scalia served our country for three decades on its highest court. While our opinions on the law and jurisprudence were frequently at odds, he was steadfast and true to his beliefs during his tenure. My thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this time."
Sen. Roy Blunt said, "Justice Scalia was a lion on the court and an unwavering defender of the Constitution. The Supreme Court and the nation have lost a strong and thoughtful voice. I will miss talking to him about books and history. My thoughts and prayers are with his family."
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