Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia dead at 79

Scalia was the longest-serving current Justice, appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986.

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Antonin Scalia, the influential conservative and most provocative member of the Supreme Court, has died. He was 79.

The U.S. Marshals Service in Washington confirmed Scalia’s death at a private residence in the Big Bend area of South Texas.

The service’s spokeswoman, Donna Sellers, says Scalia had retired for the evening and was found dead Saturday morning when he did not appear for breakfast.

Scalia used his keen intellect and missionary zeal in an unyielding attempt to move the court farther to the right and to get it to embrace his “originalist” view of judging after his 1986 appointment by President Ronald Reagan.

His 2008 opinion for the court in favor of gun rights was his crowning moment in more than 30 years on the bench.

He was a strong advocate for privacy in favoring restrictions on police searches and protections for defendants’ rights. But he also voted consistently to let states outlaw abortions, to allow a closer relationship between government and religion, to permit executions and to limit lawsuits.

Scalia’s impact on the court was muted by his seeming disregard for moderating his views to help build consensus.

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