Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia dead at 79

Tom Hinde

Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court's second-oldest and longest serving justice, has died while on a hunting trip near Marfa, Texas. Scalia was appointed to the court by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. He was an active member of the court's conservative wing and considered himself an originalist, meaning that he interpreted the Constitution of the United States as it would have been understood when it was adopted. During his tenure, he wrote more concurring opinions than any other justice, and only two justices have written more dissents.

"On behalf of the court and retired justices, I am saddened to report that our colleague Justice Antonin Scalia has passed away," Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said in a statement released after word of Scalia's death was reported by news outlets in Texas.

His passing is certain to set-off a very contentious nomination battle between the White House and Senate during an election year.