It's peculiar that the San Antonio Express-News first reported Scalia's death earlier this afternoon, but the mainstream media didn't confirm his death until late this afternoon. Scalia died in his sleep last night and was discovered by hotel staff early this morning when he did not awaken and join his traveling companions for breakfast. He reportedly arrived at the resort yesterday for a hunting trip and had dinner with a large group before retiring for the evening. A hearse did not arrive to remove Scalia's body from the resort until late this afternoon.
If President Barack Obama is allowed to appoint his replacement before the end of his term in office, it will shift the ideology of the court sharply to the left. Without Scalia's vote, for example, Americans would have been stripped of their constitutional right to bear arms based upon the interpretation of the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment advanced by the four liberal justices on the high court. Scalia, who was appointed to the Supreme Court by Ronald Reagan, joined the four other justices of the Supreme Court, all appointed by Republican presidents, in affirming that the Second Amendment gives all Americans, not the just the military and police, the right to bear arms.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already gone on record against allowing President Obama to name Scalia's successor. "The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President,” McConnell said in a statement. The leading Republican presidential contender, Donald Trump, called Scalia's passing "a massive setback for the conservative movement and our country." Both Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio quickly put out statements saying the decision should be left to the next president, not Obama.
The totally unexpected loss of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is a massive setback for the Conservative movement and our COUNTRY!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 13, 2016