Justice Scalia, RIP [UPDATED]

Justice Antonin Scalia, the intellectual cornerstone of modern conservative jurisprudence, died today on a ranch near San Antonio. He was 79. The cause of his death is not yet publicly known.

Chief Justice Roberts made this statement:

On behalf of the Court and retired Justices, I am saddened to report that our colleague Justice Antonin Scalia has passed away. 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 Governor Greg Abbott said:

Justice Antonin Scalia was a man of God, a patriot, and an unwavering defender of the written Constitution and the Rule of Law. His fierce loyalty to the Constitution set an unmatched example, not just for judges and lawyers, but for all Americans. 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.

Soon enough, President Obama will nominate a successor, and a political firestorm will ensue. In the meantime, let me conclude with the tribute paid to Justice Scalia by professor Steve Calabresi, co-founder of the Federalist Society, at a Fed Soc. event I attended in 2006 honoring the Justice for his 20 years on the Court:

He has by the force and clarity of his opinions become a defining figure in American constitutional law.

How true! More than any jurist I can think of, Justice Scalia was one of a kind. He is irreplaceable.

PAUL adds: I see that John has written an extensive post about the possibility of an Obama nominee being confirmed. I don’t think it’s going to happen. Senate Majority McConnell has tweeted: “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.”

If McConnell says no, that almost certainly will be the outcome.

Disillusioned conservatives who doubt that retaking the Senate last year was worth the effort should think again. If the Democrats were still in control, they would eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court Justices (as they did for lower court nominees) and confirm whichever leftist nominee President Obama selects on essentially a straight party line vote.