Lawmakers, presidential candidates on both sides and other prominent Americans have been reacting to the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Scalia, 79, was found dead Saturday at a luxury ranch in West Texas.
Both conservatives and liberals have been describing him as brilliant, patriotic and a defender of the Constitution. And while several commenters have said they disagreed with Scalia’s views, they all professed sound respect for him. We’ve rounded up some of the tributes.
President Barack Obama led the tributes delivering in a statement from Rancho Mirage, Calif., where said he’s going to nominate a successor to Scalia.
“Obviously, today is a time to remember Justice Scalia’s legacy. . .” Obama said. “He will no doubt be remembered as one of the most consequential judges and thinkers on the Supreme Court.”
Former President George W. Bush was among the earliest to offer a tribute, describing Scalia as a “towering figure and important judge on our Nation’s highest court.”
“He brought intellect, good judgment, and wit to the bench, and he will be missed by his colleagues and our country,” Bush said.
Among the lawmakers paying tribute was Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who noted that despite their differences of opinion, he found Scalia to be a dedicated jurist and public servant. “The President can and should send the Senate a nominee right away. With so many important issues pending before the Supreme Court, the Senate has a responsibility to fill vacancies as soon as possible,” Reid urged.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell respected Scalia for his fidelity to the Constitution and his wife Maureen and nine children. “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,” McConnell said.
Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz tweeted that Justice Scalia was an American hero. “Justice Scalia was an American hero. We owe it to him, & the Nation, for the Senate to ensure that the next President names his replacement,” Cruz said.
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said, “While I differed with Justice Scalia’s views and jurisprudence, he was a brilliant, colorful and outspoken member of the Supreme Court.”
Republican presidential forerunner candidate Donald Trump heralded him as “one of the best” Supreme Court justices of all time citing, “He is a person whom I held in the highest regard and will always greatly respect his intelligence and conviction to uphold the Constitution of our country.”
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton noted that she did not hold Justice Scalia’s views, but remembered him as “a dedicated public servant who brought energy and passion to the bench,” and said those calling for his seat to remain vacant dishonor the Constitution.
“The Senate has a constitutional responsibility here that it cannot abdicate for partisan political reasons,” Clinton said.
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio said Scalia was one of the most consequential Americans in history.
“The next president must nominate a justice who will continue Justice Scalia’s unwavering belief in the founding principles that we hold dear,” Rubio said.
Former Gov. Jeb Bush recalled, “I often said he was my favorite justice, because he took the Constitution, and the responsibility of judges to interpret it correctly, with the utmost seriousness.”
The late Supreme Court justice was remembered by Ohio Gov. John Kasich as a principled force for conservative thought.
“His dedication to the Constitution and love for and service to our country will be deeply missed,” Kasich said.
CNN host, Larry King tweeted, “I did not always agree with Justice #Scalia but I always enjoyed his company . . .”
Meantime, the Rev. Al Sharpton who, Like King noted differences of opinion with Scalia, urged in a tweet, “I hope others who disagreed with him as firmly as I have, will refrain from ugliness. Decency please.”