Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, 79, dies

SAN ANTONIO – Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has died.

Scalia died in West Texas at a ranch near the Big Bend, a person at the ranch went to check on Scalia after he did not show up for breakfast.

The longest-serving justice on the court, he was known for being an influential conservative and one of the courts most provocative members.

He was 79.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts remarked on his fellow justice's service, "He was an extraordinary individual and jurist, admired and treasured by his colleagues. His passing is a great loss to the Court and the country he so loyally served."

He was appointed to the high court in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan.

Addressing the nation, President Obama said he will, "fulfill my Constitutional responsibility" to nominate Scalia successor to Supreme Court. The president also ordered all flags at half-staff until the evening of the Scalia's funeral.

Gov. Greg Abbott released the following statement Saturday:

Justice Antonin Scalia was a man of God, a patriot, and an unwavering defender of the written Constitution and the Rule of Law. He was the solid rock who turned away so many attempts to depart from and distort the Constitution. His fierce loyalty to the Constitution set an unmatched example, not just for judges and lawyers, but for all Americans. 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.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz also issued a statement on the passing of Scalia. It reads in part:

Today our Nation mourns the loss of one of the greatest Justices in history – Justice Antonin Scalia. A champion of our liberties and a stalwart defender of the Constitution, he will go down as one of the few Justices who single-handedly changed the course of legal history. Justice Scalia’s three decades on the Court was one of President Reagan’s most consequential legacies. Our prayers are with his beloved wife Maureen, their nine children, and their precious grandchildren.

Congressman Joaquin Castro, offered his condolences and said, "The American people are grateful for the nearly 30 years of dedicated service on the highest court in the nation."

Former President Bush, who became president on a controversial vote by the Supreme Court in 1999, said: "Laura and I mourn the death of a brilliant jurist and important American, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. He was a towering figure and important judge on our Nation's highest court. He brought intellect, good judgment, and wit to the bench, and he will be missed by his colleagues and our country."

Leif Clark, a Retired U.S bankruptcy judge for the Western District of Texas, shared his thoughts on Scalia's passing. Clark said he had the pleasure of working with the first appointed Italian-American to sit on the nation’s highest court several times and describes his as warm, intelligent and as a man with a strong opinion.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn recalled Scalia's time on the bench:

Brilliant, principled, and resolute in his beliefs, he embodied the virtues of a prudent jurist. The author of some of the most consequential and best-written Supreme Court opinions, Justice Scalia will be remembered as a giant of American jurisprudence. Justice Scalia’s commitment to the law was unwavering, and his devotion to his faith and to his family was unquestionable.