The death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia sent shockwaves rippling throughout the nation Saturday, with President Obama and other political figures in Washington making statements honoring the divisive yet brilliant judge.
Here in the Bay Area, his death was also a shock to some of his former colleagues at Stanford University, where Scalia was a guest lecturer, and esteemed lawyers who argued cases in front of the Supreme Court.
"Scalia was a very terrific American. Everyone forgets that he is the son of an Italian Sciscillian immigrant," said trial lawyer Joe Cotchett, who has argued before the Supreme Court several times. "I don’t agree with most any of his policies, but that’s why this country is so great."
"Justice Scalia was obviously someone who voted on what we thought of as the conservative side, but the truth of the matter is that he started with a strong approach principaled to the U.S constitution.
Scalia died in his sleep during a visit to Texas, government officials said. Prior to going to bed on Friday evening, the conservative judge had told friends that he wasn’t feeling well.
Scalia was the conservative juggernaut on the bench who was notoriously against abortion, gay rights and affirmative action. His dissents and opinions are remembered for being written in a colorful, engaging style.
"Tonight we honor his extraordinary service to our nation," said President Barack Obama in a statement.