Associate Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead Saturday at the Cibolo Creek Ranch in Marfa, Texas. After an investigation by the FBI, the U.S. Marshal Service, and the Presidio County sheriff, Scalia’s death was deemed a result of natural causes, mySanAntonio reported. He was 79.
Scalia had arrived at the Mexican-inspired resort on Friday for a private party. When he did not appear for breakfast, a resort worker went to his room and found his dead body. A federal official confirmed that there did not seem to be any foul play attached to Scalia’s death.
The US Marshal Service began notifying officials of the news Saturday morning. US District Judge Fred Biery said he was among those informed.
“I was told it was this morning,” Biery said regarding Scalia’s death. “It happened on a ranch out near Marfa. As far as the details, I think it’s pretty vague right now as to how. My reaction is it’s very unfortunate. It’s unfortunate with any death, and politically in the presidential cycle we’re in, my educated guess is nothing will happen before the next president is elected.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott expressed his condolences in a statement released Saturday afternoon and called Scalia an “unwavering defender of the written Constitution.”
“He was the solid rock who turned away so many attempts to depart from and distort the Constitution,” Abbott said. “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.”
Scalia was born in 1936 in Trenton, New Jersey to an Italian immigrant father and a mother whose parents were Italian immigrants. Scalia was appointed into the Supreme Court under Ronald Reagan’s presidency in 1986, becoming the first Italian-American Justice. While serving on the Court, he was known for having a forceful oral style and witty, yet stern writings.
Considered generally conservative in his views, he opposed affirmative action, abortion, gay rights, and other issues that made distinctions based on race, gender, or sexual orientation. He was also in favor of a powerful executive branch, believing the president should make decisions in a variety of areas.
Scalia had been married to Maureen McCarthy Scalia since 1960 and had nine children.