U.S. Justice Scalia, conservative icon, dead at 79

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia speaks at an event sponsored by the Federalist Society in New YorkBy Joan Biskupic and Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has died, setting up a major political showdown between President Barack Obama and the Republican-controlled Senate over who will replace him just months before a presidential election. Obama called Scalia, who served on the nation’s highest court for nearly 30 years, a “larger-than-life presence” and said he intended to nominate someone to fill the vacant seat before leaving the White House next January. “I plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibility to appoint a successor in due time and there will be plenty of time for me to do so and for the Senate to give that person a fair hearing and timely vote,” Obama told reporters in California.

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