Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has passed away, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said in a statement Saturday. The senior justice, who was 79, was the High Court’s strongest conservative voice and was appointed to the court by President Ronald Reagan in 1986.
Scalia “used a sharp intellect, barbed wit and a zeal for verbal combat to fight against the tide of modern liberalism,” wrote the Los Angeles Times.
While the statement by Abbott did not indicate the cause of death, several news outlets reported that he died of natural causes while in Texas this weekend.
Almost immediately after the news, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate should not confirm a replacement for Scalia until after the 2016 election: “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.”