Politics

President Obama Responds to Justice Scalia's Death

President Barack Obama responded to the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at a press conference on Saturday. The 79-year-old justice was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. He died of natural causes during a trip to Texas, federal officials say.

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"[Scalia] influenced a generation of judges, lawyers, and students, and profoundly shaped the legal landscape," Obama said. "He will no doubt be remembered as one of the most consequential judges and thinkers to serve on the Supreme Court. Justice Scalia dedicated his life to the cornerstone of our democracy: the rule of law."

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Despite calls from some Republicans to halt the confirmation process until the next president is elected, Obama said that he plans to "fulfill my constitutional responsibilities" to nominate a Supreme Court justice during the election year. The president faces an uphill battle if he hopes to fill the vacated seat left by Scalia on the Supreme Court bench. With a Republican controlled House and Senate, the chances that Obama could nominate a liberal justice that Congress would confirm during his final term are negligible at best.

Scalia opposed key measures passed under the Obama administration, including the president's landmark health care bill, the Affordable Care Act, and the Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. Without Scalia, the Supreme Court is currently split 4-4 between justices appointed by Democrats and Republicans.

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