Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Dead at 79
Reagan appointed him in 1986
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2016 4:31 PM CST
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead at a resort in Texas on Saturday. He was 79.   (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)

(Newser) – Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead Saturday at a resort outside of Marfa, Texas, KVIA reports. According to the San Antonio Express- News, the 79-year-old appears to have died from natural causes. Scalia was the longest-serving justice currently on the Supreme Court, having been nominated by Ronald Reagan in 1986. In a statement, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called Scalia “a man of God, a patriot, and an unwavering defender of the written Constitution and the Rule of Law." “We mourn his passing, and we pray that his successor on the Supreme Court will take his place as a champion for the written Constitution and the Rule of Law," CBS DFW quotes Abbott's statement as saying.

Scalia spent Friday hunting quail at the Cibolo Creek Ranch and told friends before going to bed that he wasn't feeling well, reports CNN. His body was found in his room after he didn't show up for breakfast Saturday. In a statement, Chief Justice John Roberts called Scalia an "extraordinary individual" who was "admired and treasured by his colleagues." The Chicago Tribune notes that the conservative judge's "sharply worded dissents and caustic attacks on liberal notions were quoted widely, and they had an influence on a generation of young conservatives," the paper states. Scalia's death gives President Obama the chance to get his third nominee onto the Supreme Court, CBS News reports, though that might be tough in an election year.