The U.S. president extends his condolences and will face a stiff battle to win confirmation of a nominee to replace the conservative Justice. Diane Hodges reports.
Conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has died, setting up a major political showdown between President Barack Obama and the Republican-controlled Senate over who will replace Scalia just months before a presidential election. Chief Justice Roberts issued a statement confirming the death of his conservative colleague, calling the 79 year-old an "extraordinary individual and jurist." Scalia's death was first reported by the San Antonio News-Express, who said he had apparently died of natural causes while visiting a luxury resort in West Texas. Appointed to the top U.S. court in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan, Scalia was known for his strident conservative views and theatrical flair in the courtroom. Obama, who is traveling in California, extended his condolences. The U.S. president will face a stiff battle to win confirmation of a nominee to replace Scalia, with Republicans likely to delay approval, in the hope that one of their own wins the White House in November.