US Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia dies aged 79
One of the most conservative US Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia has died.
It was confirmed that the 79-year-old judge, who was strongly against same-sex marriage, had died during a hunting trip.
According to reports, he died in his sleep after a day of quail hunting.
His death could bring about a fifth liberal justice on the bench, potentially shifting the balance of power on the Supreme Court, once he is replaced by President Obama.
The conservative majority had stalled some efforts, including on climate change and immigration.
The justice was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986.
Ater the Supreme Court voted 5-4 that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right last year, the justice penning a scathing and often bizarre dissent attacking the decision and his colleagues.
Scalia wrote that he would rather “hide my head in a bag” than support the opinion, comparing it to “the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie”.
Speaking to law students at Georgetown University in November, he confessed his eccentric and verbose dissenting opinions were often written to be ‘fun’.
Speaking about same-sex marriage, he questioned where the Constitution draws the line – asking why protections for gay people were included but not child molesters.
He said: “What minorities deserve protection? What, it’s up to me to identify deserving minorities?
“What about pederasts? What about child abusers?”
He joked: “This is a deserving minority… Nobody loves them!”