Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia was reportedly found dead during a weekend hunting trip at the Cibolo Creek Ranch in West Texas, the San Antonio Express-News reports
The longest serving justice on the Court, nominated by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, was 79-years-old. The outspoken and conservative justice arrived at the ranch Friday to attend a private party with 40 other people. A ranch associate, who checked his room when he did not arrive for breakfast, found a body, the report notes.
Although the U.S. Marshal Service and the FBI are investigating, foul play is not suspected.
U.S. District Judge Fred Biery said he was among those notified about Scalia’s death. “I was told it was this morning,” Biery said of Scalia’s death. “It happened on a ranch out near Marfa. As far as the details, I think it’s pretty vague right now as to how,” he said. “My reaction is it’s very unfortunate. It’s unfortunate with any death, and politically in the presidential cycle we’re in, my educated guess is nothing will happen before the next president is elected.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement Saturday afternoon, calling Scalia a man of God, a patriot and an “unwavering defender of the written Constitution.”
“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.”