UPDATE: 8:29 p.m. EST -- Hillary Clinton tweeted the following statement on the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia:
"My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Justice Scalia as they mourn his sudden passing. I did not hold Justice Scalia's views, but he was a dedicated public servant who brought energy and passion to the bench.
"The Republicans in the Senate and on the campaign trail who are calling for Justice Scalia's seat to remain vacant dishonor our Constitution. The Senate has a constitutional responsibility here that it cannot abdicate for partisan polittical reasons."
UPDATE: 7:22 p.m. EST — U.S. House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Saturday joined the list of major Washington figures expressing sympathy after learning of the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, NBC News reported.
“Whether or not you agreed with him, Justice Antonin Scalia served our nation with deep patriotism and distinction on the Supreme Court for nearly 30 years. He has been one of the strongest voices in the great American debate around our Constitution. He leaves behind a formidable record of jurisprudence, and a fierce articulation of his understanding of the Constitution,” NBC News quoted Pelosi as saying in a statement.
News of the sudden death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the longest-serving justice on the court, generated shock waves throughout the political world Saturday. Politicians across the political spectrum swiftly issued statements expressing their sympathies.
Former President George W. Bush said Scalia was a “towering figure and important judge on our nation’s highest court,” CBS News reported. “He brought intellect, good judgment and wit to the bench, and he will be missed by his colleagues and our country.”
Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio quickly weighed in on Twitter.
The totally unexpected loss of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is a massive setback for the Conservative movement and our COUNTRY!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 13, 2016
Today our Nation mourns the loss of one of the greatest Justices in history – Justice Antonin Scalia https://t.co/8ESSQHU1VY
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 13, 2016
While Rubio offered similar condolences, he also sought to highlight the stakes surrounding the sudden vacancy on the Supreme Court: It may be up to the next president to decide who will replace him on the bench.
Jeanette & I mourn the loss of Justice Scalia, and our thoughts & prayers are with his wife Maureen & his family. pic.twitter.com/e03KRZRM6q
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 13, 2016
Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., shared a photograph depicting Scalia and himself after the two apparently hunted ducks together. A report by an ABC affiliate in El Paso, Texas, said Scalia was found dead in his sleep Saturday after “a day of quail hunting.”
Justice Scalia was a truly great man of enormous character. pic.twitter.com/EFCB5bmWtl
— Jeff Fortenberry (@JeffFortenberry) February 13, 2016
Democrats offered praise and prayers for Scalia, their frequent nemesis, as well.
“This afternoon, the president was informed of the passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia,” a representative of President Barack Obama told reporters, according to pool reports. “The president and first lady extend their deepest condolences to Justice Scalia’s family.”
While our opinions were frequently at odds Justice Scalia remained true to his beliefs in 3 decades of service. My thoughts are w his family
— Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) February 13, 2016
Mary and I send our deepest condolences to Justice Scalia's family and recognize his long career of service.
— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) February 13, 2016
Like Rubio, former Obama adviser David Axelrod pointed out the potential political impact of Scalia’s passing.
Sudden death of Justice Scalia is a seismic event, and surely will reverberate in campaign, focusing both sides on stakes.
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) February 13, 2016