Obama: Justice Scalia Dedicated His Life to the Cornerstone of Our Democracy, the Rule of Law

The commander-in-chief made a statement after the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
6:22 | 02/13/16

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Transcript for Obama: Justice Scalia Dedicated His Life to the Cornerstone of Our Democracy, the Rule of Law
This is an ABC news special report. Good evening I'm Tom Thomas at ABC news headquarters in New York we are coming on the year because presser Obama. Is set to speak about the passing of Supreme Court justice. Antonin Scalia Justice Scalia passed away in his sleep while on a hunting trip in Texas he was the longest serving justice. On the High Court in an imposing conservative force win or lose. Chief Justice John Roberts calling Scalia quote an extraordinary individual and jurists admired and treasured by his call weeks. We are waiting the president to speak at any moment now from Southern California where he was on vacation we understand it president. Is intending to possibly nominate someone before his presidency is up. Now Republican senators have said they will block any nomination until the election is over which is still eleven months from now. As we said at any moment the president will take the podium there to Cisco it was 79 years old we understand he was on a hunting trip. In the western part of Texas. As and he apparently died from natural causes senior White House correspondent Jonathan Karl joins me now and Joseph what do we expect the president to set. What I expect the president to blow there is good ignorant. For almost thirty years. Justice and to learn. Nino Scalia was a larger than life president on the bench. Brilliant legal mind and energetic style. Incisive wit. And colorful opinions. He influenced a generation of judges lawyers and students. And profoundly shaped the legal landscape. He will no doubt be remembered as one of the most consequential judges and thinkers to serve on the Supreme Court. Justice Scalia dedicated his life but the cornerstone of our democracy. The rule of law. Tonight we honor his extraordinary service to our nation. And remember one of the towering legal figures of our time. And it's clear was born in Trenton, New Jersey to an Italian immigrant family. After graduating from Georgetown university and Harvard Law School he worked at law firm and tort law before entering a life of public service. He rose from assistant attorney general for the office of legal counsel. To the judge on the DC Circuit Court to associate justice of the Supreme Court. A devout Catholic. It was a proud father of nine children and grandfather to many wanting grandchildren. Justice Scalia was both an avid hunter and an opera lover. A passion for music but he shared what is your colleague and friend. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Michelle and I were proud to welcome him the White House including in 2012 or a state dinner but look prime minister David Cameron. Tonight we join his fellow justices and in Italy morning. This remarkable man. Obviously today. Is a time to remember. Justice scalia's like us. I plan to fulfill. My constitutional responsibilities to nominate a successor. In due time. There will be plenty of time for me to do so and for the senate to fulfill its responsibility. To give that person a fair hearing and a timely vote. His responsibilities. That I take seriously as should everyone. There bigger than any one party. They are about our democracy. There about the institution. To which Justice Scalia dedicated his professional life. And making sure continues to function as the because beacon of justice that our founders envisioned. But at this moment. We most of all want to think about it his family. And Michelle and I join the nation and sending our deepest sympathies to justice scalia's wife Maureen. And their. Loving family. A beautiful symbol. Of a life what would. We thank them for sharing Justice Scalia when our country. God bless them all and god bless the United States rumor. It. And we were just listening to President Obama talk about the passing of Justice Scalia. Calling him a remarkable man and also saying that right now him and Michelle Obama the first clear thinking about the Scalia fanned me but saying he intends to fulfill. Nominating a successor to the Supreme Court without Alec to bring in senior White House correspondent John thing Carl. Now Jonathan we just heard the president say he plans on doing this will he be able to get it Dolan. Well he could certainly nominate a replacement I fully expected he will. A but the question is will the Republican controlled senate move on that nomination will they hold hearings on that nomination will they schedule a vote on that nomination. That word from the Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell is that he believes that the appointment and replacement of a Scalia. Should be Don by the next president. And I would expect that they will not move forward whatsoever on this but this will be. This will be quite a battle only about will play out not only here in Washington between the White House and congress but on the campaign trail well we've all on the campaign trail as well according heard. From Hillary Clinton saying they it. She believes that the if congress has a constitutional responsibility to act. On a replacement and we've heard from Republican presidential. Candidates saying that they have absolutely. Did they think there's no way the President Obama should be the person it would be replacing in his last year in office last month in office the person who has been the constitutional icon. The constitutional. Ballast to the Supreme Court so this'll be a battle to play out here in Washington and on the campaign. Trail yet the president set to face one of the most heated political battles. Just before he exits the White House Jonathan Karl thank you so much for your help tonight and we're to return now to regular programming which for some of you is world news tonight there will be much more on this tomorrow on Good Morning America. As wills this week and world news tonight as well tomorrow thank you so much for joining us could not. A special report from ABC.

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

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