New Jersey native Antonin Scalia, the longest-serving justice on the Supreme Court, was found dead of apparent natural causes Saturday on a luxury resort in West Texas, according to multiple reports.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed Scalia's death in a statement later Saturday afternoon.
Scalia, 79, was a guest at the Cibolo Creek Ranch in the Big Bend region south of Marfa, the San Antonio Express-News reported.
Scalia had arrived at the ranch Friday, the story said. When he did not appear for breakfast, a person from the ranch went to his room and found his body, the story said.
A federal official who asked not to be identified said there was no evidence of foul play and it appeared that Scalia had died of natural causes, the story said.
"He was an extraordinary individual and jurist, admired and treasured by his colleagues," Roberts said in his statement. "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."
Scalia is also survived by nine children and numerous grandchildren.
One of three justices on the High Court approaching age 80, Scalia was the first Italian-American Supreme Court justice.
The outspoken and at times fiery Scalia, who routinely made more comments and asked more questions than any other justice, was known for his Conservative views.
Scalia was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan.
The Trenton native was the longest-serving justice with 29 years on the high court. Scalia was known for conservative positions. He was a devout Roman Catholic, and his son is a priest.
Scalia was born in Trenton, N.J., and attended public grade school and Catholic high school in New York City. He attended Georgetown University as an undergraduate and obtained his law degree from Harvard Law School.
In 1982, he was appointed as a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit by Reagan. In 1986, Scalia was appointed to fill the associate justice seat vacated when Justice William Rehnquist was elevated to chief justice. Scalia was unanimously confirmed by the Senate, becoming the first Italian-American justice.
Scalia served for nearly 30 years, during which time he established a solidly conservative voting record and ideology. He was a strong defender of the powers of the executive branch, believing presidential power should be paramount in many areas. He opposed affirmative action.
Click here to read the story at the San Antonio Express-News website.
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