Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Dies; Is ‘Heller’ Now In Danger?

United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the author of the Court’s landmark Second Amendment decision Heller v. District of Columbia, has died at age 79. Scalia was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan.

Reports the San Antonio Express-News:

Associate Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead of apparent natural causes Saturday on a luxury resort in West Texas, federal officials said.

Scalia, 79, was a guest at the Cibolo Creek Ranch, a resort in the Big Bend region south of Marfa.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead Saturday at a luxury resort in West Texas, Scalia was 79.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead Saturday at a luxury resort in West Texas, Scalia was 79.

According to a report, Scalia arrived at the ranch on Friday and attended a private party with about 40 people. When he did not appear for breakfast, a person associated with the ranch went to his room and found a body.

In a statement, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said, “As liberals and conservatives alike would agree, through his powerful and persuasive opinions, Justice Scalia fundamentally changed how courts interpret the Constitution and statutes, returning the focus to the original meaning of the text after decades of judicial activism. And he authored some of the most important decisions ever, including District of Columbia v. Heller, which recognized our fundamental right under the Second Amendment to keep and bear arms….”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement Saturday afternoon, calling Scalia a man of God, a patriot and 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.”

President Obama has said he will try to name a Supreme Court successor to Scalia immediately. Should the Senate try to block such a move? Let us hear your strategy in the comments section below.

44 thoughts on “Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Dies; Is ‘Heller’ Now In Danger?”

  1. The Senate should do their Constitutional duty for any nominee the President puts forward. That means hearings and an up or down vote. Any attempt to block the President from putting forward a nominee or refusal to hold hearings and vote on the nominee would be an abrogation of their Constitutional responsibilities.

    1. There is no requirement in the Constitution that the Senate must hold hearings, or make an up or down vote.
      Instead, the Senate’s responsibility is to “advise” (that is, if it is asked to do so) and to “consent” (if it chooses to do so, which does not always happen if you remember Robert Bork).
      The Senate is in no position “to block the President from putting forward a nominee.”
      The Senate does not have “Constitutional responsibilities” to hold hearings or to vote on a nominee.
      To take the liberty of very broadly paraphrasing the late Justice Scalia, it’s either in the Constitution, or it’s not.

    2. Total Horse Excrement Roger Whiteaker. The Senate’s Constitutional duty does not set any time limit on when or even if they have a vote on said nominee. As Resident Obongoboy said: “Elections have consequences” that includes the opposition being elected to oppose him. The U.S. Legislative bodies were founded to act as a check and balance to both an over reaching judicial and over reaching executive branch of the government. Both of those branches are way over reaching for decades. Any effort a Republican led Senate makes to oppose Obongoboy is their true duty. A Democrat Senate led by the vile Harry Reid pulled every dirty yet legal trick out of the bag to oppose the other side of the aisle. Good for the goose, good for the gander

      1. You’re damn right elections have consequences. And the consequence of the last presidential election is that the American People decided they wanted President Obama to nominate jurists to fill any court vacancies until Jan 20, 2017. The fact that you cannot speak of our President with respect or keep from slandering Harry Reid shows the decrepitude of your thinking. Hell, you don’t even understand how our government works. If the Republican controlled Senate wants to oppose President Obama, the way they do it is to hold confirmation hearings and submit the nominee to the full vote of the Senate where they vote him/her down.

      2. You are correct that President Obama has the constitutional responsibility to nominate a replacement. But, the Senate has no constitutional responsibility to hold a hearing or submit to a vote. The Constitution states that his appointment will be “with the advice and consent of the Senate”. They have already advised that they will not consider and Obama nominee. That is the total of their constitutional responsibility. It is consistent with over 80 years of not consenting to a SCOTUS nominee in the last year of a presidential term where re-election is not allowed. You are completely out of line with history and the Constitution to assert that the Senate should hold hearings and submit for a vote.

      3. What the Senate has done is not advice. Advice would be to tell the President what qualifications they want to see in a nominee. Instead, they are refusing to follow the Constitution they swore to uphold.

    3. The Senate can’t “block” the President from submitting a nominee. How they choose to exercise their constitutional role of advice and consent is up to them. In history, many nominees have not received an up or down vote or been rejected by the Senate for various reasons.
      The Senate doesn’t have a “constitutional responsibility” to vote on any nominee. They do have a responsibility to advise and consent. They can do that in many ways including not holding hearings on a nominee for any reason. The appointment for life is a shared responsibility of both the Senate and the President. Of course I guess the Senate could take the position Chucky Schumer did in 2007……

  2. What would the democrats do it the shoe was on the other foot ? Harry Reed would not vote on a budget for 6 years. I say look at the nominee and if they find someone that would be fair, take a vote. If they are far left or right don’t vote.
    If Obama gets his way with a liberal the USA as we have known it will be lost.

  3. I, too, believe that the senate should do it’s duty as required by the Constitution. However, there are factors to consider that should determine how fast the Senate moves. If Obama nominates someone like Scalia, which is highly unlikely, the Senate should take advantage and move to confirm. If a more liberal nominee is offered we should exercise great care in the confirmation process. A nominee such as Camilla Harris or Loretta Lynch may, on first look, be one that could not be approved. However, if the Senate waits out the election and the Senate majority changes hands OR if a Democrat were to be elected to the White House then we could find ourselves with an even more liberal nominee that would be confirmed. It’s time for our Senators to step back and think about what they are doing rather than political posturing for the cameras.

  4. The Constitution of The United States was given to the People, by the God of the Bible as recognized by the Founding Fathers. We the people have been aware of the Three Branches of Government attempting to subvert our rights for decades. The representatives of the people don,t have the right to interpret the Constitution as they see fit, it belongs to the people! If the government tells the people they can,t exercise their Constitutional rights given to us by God, then the government needs to be removed! That is the government of, by, and for the people! Reelect No One!

    1. “God of the Bible” had nothing to do with what the Founding Fathers put in the Constitution. In fact, many of them spoke out against any overlap between religion and government. The Founding Fathers were influenced by and were part of the Age of Enlightenment. They looked to the writings of Locke, Hobbes, Rousseau, and others for the basis of our Constitution. One of those principles was separation of church and state. The Founding Fathers recognized that government and religion both worked better when there was a strict separation between the two. Article 6 of the Constitution prohibits religious tests for officeholders. While the phrase, “separation of church and state” does not appear in the Constitution, Thomas Jefferson, in his letter to the Danbury Baptists, stated, “…I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

  5. And on the question of Heller, it will not be overturned any time soon. Heller did two things: It determined that the right to own firearms was an individual right. And it determined that such right was not absolute. Heller certainly stated that governments had the right to restrict who could own a firearm and what kind of firearm they might own, but did not elaborate fully on any rules thereof, leaving those distinctions to future decisions.

      1. Technically, the Dred Scott decision was never overturned. The 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments made it moot.

      2. Sadly those amendments became the excuse for so-called birthright citizenship even though the legislative history and current statues don’t support it either. Funny how it just bubbled up out of nowhere.

      3. Not sure how you come up with that, given that the 14th Amendment clearly states, “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” It’s pretty clear if you are born here you are a citizen.

      4. Nope. Go read the legislative history on the 14th amendment as proposed and adopted. It was very narrowly drawn. Mark Levin did some great background discussions of this very topic last December. I’ll see if I can find the podcast date. Never intended to confer citizenship automatically on a child born of foreign nationals.

      5. Here ya go, Rog.

        Scroll down to

        8/18/15 – Mark Levin Audio Rewind

        The argument that an illegal alien can step into the United States, claim legal and political jurisdiction, and confer citizenship to their child is insane
        8/19/15 – Mark Levin Audio Rewind

        It’s time to go on the offensive about birthright citizenship. Congress has the broadest power under the Constitution to pass a statute and put an end to birthright citizenship


      6. Ahh, yes. Mark Levin. Noted American Jurist.

        Oh. … Wait…..No he’s not. He’s never set on the bench and actively hates the Supreme Court. And you’re suggesting we should take our legal advice from him??


      7. Wow. I guess the others on this thread had you pegged as a troll correctly from the beginning. The Trump ad hominem response to Levin’s analysis is pretty telling. Have a nice life, Rog….

    1. Typical liberal bias. When things work as you want them to, everyone is doing what they’re supposed to be doing and you have no gripe. But the minute they don’t go left then everyone is not doing what they should be doing. Then all is broken and all hell breaks loose because the left thinks they’re getting a raw deal. How about all those executive orders the “king of the US” penned? Oh yeah most thrown out by the US Supreme Court. Of course if the “king” had just been able to put one more justice in place 5 years ago…..

      1. Seriously? You think the Heller decision was “typical liberal bias?” I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and say you are ignorant. The Court broke 5-4 on Heller, with the five conservative justices voting in the majority. The Heller decision was written by the most conservative justice on the court, Antonin Scalia, the man whose death started this blog entry.

        Now about all those executive orders by President Obama that the Court overturned? Yeah, that hasn’t happened either. The courts have overturned only two executive orders; one of Truman’s and one of Clinton’s. (

  6. I understand very well how our government works (any oxymoron, by the way). Obozo will nominate an extremely liberal judge to placate the liberal Democrats (are there any other kind?). Then when the Republicans either fail to confirm or fail to hold hearings the Democratic presidential nominee will beat the Republicans over the head with it. By the way, with friends like Roger, who needs enemies? P.S. Note to Roger: what part of ‘shall not be infringed’ don’t you understand?

    1. Note to Clark Kent. Those nine citizens who get to interpret the Constitution have disagreed with you. What part of The Supreme Court gets to decide don’t YOU understand. You might want to learn who has the power and who doesn’t before you get a prison cell next to the Bundys.

      1. “Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.”

      2. Note to Roger: The Supreme Court has in the past has affirmed the Fugitive Slave Act and ‘separate but equal’ in public education. They DO NOT determine my rights. The government works for ME; not the other way around. ‘It is not the function of the government to keep the citizens from falling into error; it is the function of the citizens to keep the government from falling into error’ – former U.S. Supreme Court Justice L. Brandeis. My God, man, and you call yourself an AMERICAN? GROW A PAIR OR LEAVE THE USA!

      3. You, dear sir, are an idiot. The Supreme Court most certainly does determine your rights. The Taney Court was correct to affirm the Fugitive Slave Act, which was the law of the land until rendered unconstitutional by the 13th Amendment. When it became clear that the concept of separate but equal was not working, the court ruled it unconstitutional. The beauty of our Constitution is that it is able to change with the times.

        And here’s another thing, your use of all caps does not improve your argument. I spent 28 years in an Army uniform. Six of those years were spent on the Fulda Gap staring down the Evil Empire. So don’t presume to tell me to grow a pair. And don’t presume to try to tell me what constitutes proper thought for an American. You don’t have that right.

      4. He does have that right to say what he wishes – it is called Free Speech – try reading the 1st Amendment. You know, the one you swore to defend when you put on your US Army uniform.

      5. Dave Bowers, you are correct. He has the absolute right to say whatever he wishes, thus proving himself to be an idiot.

    1. Don’t worry; he will be one of the first ones greased by either the government or a patriot when the second revolution (soon) occurs. He is the typical liberal bozo who has been sucking the teat of government for so long he never matured into adult thinking. SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED is all you need to know, REGARDLESS OF ANY AND ALL SUPREME COURT RULINGS. RIGHTS are INALIENABLE (read the Constitution).

      1. OK, you have now proved you’re an idiot. Nowhere in the Constitution is there any reference to Inalienable Rights. Before you make assertions about what the Constitution says, you should probably read it.

      2. Everyone is an idiot but you? The People have let the federal usurpers slowly take The Bill of Rights apart over time. We shall see how far the illegality goes until there is resistance.

      3. I never said everyone is an idiot but me. I said Clark Kent was an idiot because the term ‘inalienable rights’ is not found in the Constitution. If you truly think you have the right to determine what is legal and what is not, you may find yourself in Federal court trying to explain why your interpretation of the law is superior to that of the court’s. At the end of that interaction, you’ll probably find yourself handcuffed by Federal agents and transported to a Federal prison.

  7. I find it very suspicious Antonin Scalia died! Don’t put it past those who would have their own way for having something to do with Scalia’s death.

    1. Absolutely! How often is it that obese 79 year-old men die? I mean, that almost never happens, right? SMH

  8. Gentlemen. I thought this was supposed to be a discussion about whether or not anyone suggested by president Obama should be blocked by the current Senate, not a pissing contest between 2 or 3 people. My opinion in the matter is from what I have seen in recent times is a trend to follow a double standard by one of the two parties, you guess which one. If we haven’t figured it out yet, then we need to know that what we want doesn’t matter any more. What they want is how it works and they just want us to think we have a hand in the decision making process. It’s all about power and control and they don’t care how they get it as long as they win and win it all.
    Thank you for your service to our country Mr. Whiteaker by the way. As far as our rights go, I believe in Universal rights, and one of those is the right to defend one’s self, no matter what a piece of paper says. I think our fore fathers were wise beyond their years and wrote the Bill of Rights and The Constitution for a good reason and to be long lasting and not just a fleeting document to be torn apart by immoral disrespectful hypocrites.
    I used to see late night commercials selling record albums by a fellow named Roger Whiteaker. I don’t imagine that was you was it Roger? Maybe a relative? Just ribbing you.

    1. slomo52, you seem to have formed an opinion that I don’t believe in the right to either gun ownership or the right to self-defense. I can’t imagine how you would have come to that conclusion since I have never expressed such thoughts.

      The Founding Fathers were wise beyond their years. They designed the Constitution to be a living document that future generations could interpret and amend as necessary. They knew they could not foresee the future and how both technology and social philosophy would impact our government. The Founding Fathers were well aware of the potential impact of what you refer to as “immoral disrespectful hypocrites.” They gave us ways to neutralize them by use of the ballot and the courts.

      The Roger Whittaker you see in the late night commercials is an Englishman.

  9. If owning firearms is really dependent on a majority in a legal committee, then we don’t have the right as described in the Bill of Rights. We merely have a temporary privilege that will taken away by the Big Government ruling class when they see fit to do so.

    1. While you are welcome to think this way, that is not the case in terms of Supreme Court decisions. You really need to download a copy of the Heller decision and read it several times and digest it.

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