Conservative Supreme Court Justice Scalia Dies at 79

Steve Kanaval |

Throughout his career outspoken justice Antonin Scalia has been a vocal opponent of abortion and gay rights, often writing scathing dissenting opinions. He was known for his sense of humor and colorful language, calling effort to defend President Obama's healthcare reform law "jiggery-pokery" and "pure applesauce". In 2008, Justice Scalia delivered the opinion on Heller v District of Columbia, a landmark case that affirmed an individual's right to possess a handgun.

The appointment of Justice Scalia's successor is certain to become a major issue in the presidential race.Republicans in the US Senate are likely to try to block efforts by Mr Obama to appoint a new justice, arguing the next president should make the appointment.

Justice Scalia's death could shift the balance of power on the US high court, allowing President Barack Obama to add a fifth liberal justice to the court. The court's conservative majority has recently stalled major efforts by the Obama administration on climate change and immigration.

Justice Scalia, 79, was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. He died in his sleep early on Saturday while in West Texas for hunting trip, the US Marshall service said. Justice Scalia was one of the most prominent proponents of "originalism" - a conservative legal philosophy that believes the US Constitution has a fixed meaning and does not change with the times.

In 2008, Justice Scalia delivered the opinion on Heller v District of Columbia, a landmark case that affirmed an individual's right to possess a handgun.

Antonin Scalia

Was born in Trenton, New Jersey, March 11, 1936. He married Maureen McCarthy and has nine children - Ann Forrest, Eugene, John Francis, Catherine Elisabeth, Mary Clare, Paul David, Matthew, Christopher James, and Margaret Jane. He received his A.B. from Georgetown University and the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, and his LL.B. from Harvard Law School, and was a Sheldon Fellow of Harvard University from 1960–1961. He was in private practice in Cleveland, Ohio from 1961–1967, a Professor of Law at the University of Virginia from 1967–1971, and a Professor of Law at the University of Chicago from 1977–1982, and a Visiting Professor of Law at Georgetown University and Stanford University. He was chairman of the American Bar Association’s Section of Administrative Law, 1981–1982, and its Conference of Section Chairmen, 1982–1983. He served the federal government as General Counsel of the Office of Telecommunications Policy from 1971–1972, Chairman of the Administrative Conference of the United States from 1972–1974, and Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel from 1974–1977. He was appointed Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1982. President Reagan nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and he took his seat September 26, 1986.

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