U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Has Died

The Governor of the State of Texas issued a press release on the passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia:

“Justice Antonin Scalia was a man of God, a patriot, and an unwavering defender of the written Constitution and the Rule of Law. He was the solid rock who turned away so many attempts to depart from and distort the Constitution. 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. Cecilia and I extend our deepest condolences to his family, and we will keep them in our thoughts and prayers.”

Apparently he died peacefully of natural causes in his sleep.

While I often disagreed with decisions on church-state separation, I always respected his intelligence. My condolences to his wife and family.

Already it is virtually impossible to find a story about his death without some kind of speculation for when he might be replaced and — crucially — whether Obama or the next President — who may very well be a Republican — will get to nominate that person. As important as that question may be, it seems rather insensitive to discuss the topic on the same day as his death. (If you are a hard-core liberal who disagrees, think how you would feel if the tables were turned; Romney were president; Justice Ginsburg died; and conservatives were salivating at the mouth over the prospect of replacing Ginsburg with a conservative justice before the end of Romney’s term, on the day of his death .) The man was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and deserves respect. We can talk about the politics of nominating his successor later.