AP | Courtesy Photo

Justice Scalia dies at 79

Written by Kathryn Hyer, @KathrynHyer

Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead in the suite of a luxury ranch resort in Texas on Feb. 13, passing away from natural causes at the age of  79.

Scalia, along with about 35 other guests, had been invited by Texan millionaire John Poindexter to spend a weekend at the ranch enjoying activities such as hunting and sightseeing, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Poindexter found Scalia on his bed after not showing up to the scheduled excursions that Scalia had served in the Supreme Court for 30 years, beginning in 1986 when he was appointed as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan.

His casket was taken in a procession up to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. on Friday around 11 a.m.

“It was really cool to see how much respect all of these people had for this man who served this country for so long,” said Rachel Dunlap, recent alumna of BYU-Idaho and current intern at the House of Representatives, after attending the procession herself. “You could feel the love and respect that the people had for him.”

With a new vacancy in the Supreme Court, the public waits to hear if President Barack Obama will be nominating anyone for the position before leaving office.

As a devout Catholic from New Jersey with nine children, Scalia was known for his strong conservative presence in the Supreme Court.

“His absence will change a lot of the ways the supreme court votes,” Dunlap said. “Especially if the president puts someone in who’s more liberal.”

For a new Supreme Court Justice to be appointed, the president must nominate a candidate, and then that name gets sent to the Senate for a vote. The candidate must receive a majority of votes from the senate to be approved, according to the Supreme Court official website.

The characteristics needed in a Supreme Court Justice are to be geared towards serving the people and the Constitution of the United States.

“I would want them to be able to see both sides,” said Josh Young, a sophomore studying mechanical engineering. “To be able to not necessarily play it by what others have done in the past, but what’s good for the situation. I believe they should be more well rounded.”

A Supreme Court Justice is meant to be a civil servant.

“I hope the person they appoint will love and respect the Constitution as much as Justice Scalia did,” Dunlap said.

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