Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Dies at Age 79

The senior Supreme Court Associate Justice, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, was found dead at a West Texas ranch.
7:55 | 02/13/16

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Transcript for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Dies at Age 79
This is an ABC news special report. Good afternoon I'm Tom jobless at ABC news headquarters in new York and we are interrupting regular programming to bring you breaking news. Reports from US marshals and the governor of Texas that Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia has passed away. He died in his sleep last night after a day of quail hunting outside El Paso, Texas. His death apparently of natural causes. Justice Scalia was the longest serving justice on the High Court appointed by president Ronald Reagan. Back in 1986. ABC's chief foreign correspondent Terry Moran covers the court for us and Terry you knew justice scalia's presence on the court very well talk to us about his legacy. Com I jacket Antonin Scalia look at that how lowering it here on the Supreme Court or hand in American law. The force of that intellect. But also to the sheer force of his personality. He put three decades. Led the conservative movement in American law to wore all black the arrow of liberal activism on the courts. He didn't win much didn't pat them come and dumped on the landmark ruling but it wouldn't those willing and even more in his two cents. Which could be skating and short have to which will loud and clear that he demonstrated a way forward for conservatives with almost given up. On the Supreme Court after the war an error an error of liberal act it is. Are you couldn't say that there would. Scalia Aaron didn't win that much there's certainly a Scalia influence and it runs right through the Supreme Court. An American court in general he showed the way. For conservatives. To be on the court the flight. That liberal effort to re interpret the constitution. In the light of current circumstances. Scalia was the champion. Saying the constitution shouldn't me what it meant the people who wrote it and ratified. It lost it just. Are incalculable. To the conservative movement in American law and beyond because it was such a cherub yet. It became the current political political figure and a controversial one as well and yet it out of must be you have to get through friendship. His closest friend on the Supreme Court the most liberal justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg he were very very close. I think what could be opera together they want. Appeared in the opera together in Washington. And more recently joked at a later Kagan and Obama or eight. I'd been converted. At Ohio. Oh by just disclose what they chart their but more than that their say. How luring intellectual and personal figure on that court dominating in oral arguments. Clear scathing. And in in someway truly a leader elect few other just you and then what do conservatives. On the Supreme Court. And Terry one of his victory is that as you mentioned one of his few victories was gore V bush in 2000 talking about the arguments there and and this was something he was not afraid to almost boast about times. Noting if you would happy about the outcome of that case that case. Are awarded the election. To George W. Bush on the basis. That the Florida wreak terror would. Violating the equal protection rights that voters. Because they were counting ballots in which are a variety of ways if you were caught and it as you know what it's usually controversial. Ruling and yet it was the kind of guy I would see him from time to target event in Washington was charming. But he liked to collect about you liked the good argument. And usually got that. Terry Moran reporting from Mexico City Terry is actually covering. Pulled Francis is visit over there to Mexico City a want to bring in Jonathan Karl and our senior White House correspondent now Jonathan as many across this nation are are mourning the loss. Of Justice Scalia there is now the question the bacon C. On the Supreme Court what is the next step will present Obama. Now search for another candidate to bring up to congress and and does he have enough time to get that person possibly ratified the fourth presidents yen's. It realistically I think that's going to be incredibly difficult com. He's got. Less than a year left the idea of a confirmation hearing for a a lame duck president and you know facing a congress controlled by the other party. The on such short time frame I think it's going to be nearly impossible outspoken to. Congressional leaders already consists consists news has hit it and and that is. You don't personally DP. What do what everybody is saying is that the idea of tea. A confirmation it's almost certainly wait for the next president to appoint classically its replacement potentially Tom Scalia. Was confirmed he's easy kind of EC east symbolic in many ways of how divided the court is because of his acerbic dipped as. Dissents in the way he's becomes a hero to conservatives. Book when he was nominated by Reagan in 86 he was confirmed at 98. To zero that was on a single vote against him. Are we are any a different era right now the idea that a Republican candidate. In the last year of president Obama's. If you presidency would confirm a replacement. Appointed by President Obama seems remote. Now Jonathan you were tell me that recently. As of just a couple months but you actually heard him speak. And you were in court a couple of times for arguments while he was he was Cora Lee arguing speaking correct. Yeah I ironically he spoke at my daughter's high school graduation just this past spring and and he. What was so I was in the courtroom for the two landmark decisions that. It came down one on meet the obamacare decision and the other on gay marriage both of which went to the way that. The opposite way a political he'll want it. And his voice in that courtroom. I mean he could be funny he could be played being he was incredibly intimidating to. To opposition council coming before him with his rapid fire questions. And of course is decisions as Terry mentioned. He just just to turn a phrase and now I mean I'm sure you see this Tom when you're out on the campaign trail. You left any Republican candidate for president who they would put on the Supreme Court what kind of of the justice they would like skim the Supreme Court. And the answer is always somebody like Justice Scalia. Or somebody like Justice Scalia or Thomas Alito but Scalia is. Always the first name mentioned. He is. You know the the ideal Supreme Court justice for for for the conservative Republicans and on the are yet another reason that the idea that bit that Republicans in the senate would. Would would allow President Obama to replace Scully is two fiscally on the court justice seems quite remote but yeah I powerful voice it route rather. Different conservative view was that acerbic and asked cutting is he could be also could be an incredibly funny funny guy and it in his humor. And on your earlier point senator Ted crews out with a statement calling Justice Scalia one of the greatest justices in history Jonathan thank you so much once again. We've been reporting justice Antonin Scalia has died of natural causes at the age of 79 he beast behind his wife Maureen and nine children and their families. We'll be covering this. Completely on world news tonight coming up who want to return now to regular programming. I'm Tom got us we'll have full coverage coming up on world news tonight a powerfully. This has really special encore from BP's.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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