Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia dies at age 79

February 13, 2016 in News by RBN Staff

By Erin Edgemon |

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia died on Saturday of apparent natural causes, the San Antonio Express-News first reported.

Scalia, 79, died in his sleep while staying as a guest at the Cibolo Creek Ranch, a private residence in the Big Bend region south of Marfa, according to reports.

The ranch is near the border with Mexico and about two and a half hours from El Paso, Texas.

Scalia was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan to fill the seat William Rehnquist vacated to become chief justice.

He was the first Italian-American to sit on the nation’s highest court.

Scalia distinguished himself as one of the court’s most conservative members. He repeatedly called for the reversal of Roe v. Wade, which made aborton legal.

The U.S. Marshall’s Service confirmed Scalia’s death to the Associated Press.

A spokesperson said Scalia was found Saturday morning when he did not appear for breakfast.

“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 said in a statement today, the Washington Post reported. “He was an extraordinary individual and jurist, admired and treasured by his colleagues. His passing is a great loss to the Court and the country he so loyally served. We extend our deepest condolences to his wife Maureen and his family.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called Scalia a man of God, a patriot and an “unwavering defender of the written Constitution in statement released Saturday afternoon.

“He was the solid rock who turned away so many attempts to depart from and distort the Constitution,” Abbott said. “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. Cecilia and I extend our deepest condolences to his family, and we will keep them in our thoughts and prayers.”