Justice Antonin Scalia, the member of the Supreme Court whom the Associated Press called "the influential conservative," was found dead Saturday in the Big Bend area of Texas.
Among local responses to his death are Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Gov. Gary Herbert and Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox.
"Justice Scalia was a giant of the law and a true patriot," Hatch said in a statement. "He devoted nearly four decades of his life to public service. As a scholar and a jurist, he led a much-needed revolution in the law, based on the enduring principle that the role of a judge is to say what the law is, not what the law should be. His opinions, filled with unmatched wit, will continue to shape our nation for decades to come. Above all, he was a dear friend, and I will miss him greatly. Maureen and the entire Scalia family are in Elaine's and my thoughts and prayers.
Herbert and Cox tweeted the following:
Scalia will be remembered as one of the most brilliant and bombastic jurists of all time. And I loved every word.— Spencer Cox (@SpencerJCox) February 13, 2016
U.S. Rep, Chris Stewart, who represents Utah's 2nd Congressional District, and Sen. Mike Lee also issued statements.
Stewart called Scalia "the principal voice of conservatives on the Supreme Court," while adding he hopes Scalia's replacement "will strive to honor his legacy of protecting the constitution."
Scalia's intellect made his appeal not restricted to one side of the aisle, Lee's statement read.
"Justice Scalia was one of the greatest Supreme Court justices of all time," Lee said. "His intellect was admired by Americans of all political persuasions and his consistent fidelity to the text and original meaning of the Constitution have transformed the way we all approach the law."
The death drew responses from Republican presidential candidates:
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
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
With the tributes, though, was speculation over the process to replace Scalia in the court.
Justice Scalia was an American hero. We owe it to him, & the Nation, for the Senate to ensure that the next President names his replacement.— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 13, 2016
MITCH MCCONNELL on Scalia: "this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President." pic.twitter.com/bKZOJFgY90— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) February 13, 2016
Conn Carroll, Lee's communications director, added his own speculation:
What is less than zero? The chances of Obama successfully appointing a Supreme Court Justice to replace Scalia?— Conn Carroll (@conncarroll) February 13, 2016
If anything this will put a full stop to all Obama judicial nominees going forward.— Conn Carroll (@conncarroll) February 13, 2016
According to the Associated Press, President Ronald Reagan appointed Scalia in 1986, and the justice's "crowning moment" was his 2008 opinion for the court in favor of gun rights.