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US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia dead at 79

US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, pictured on October 5, 2011, has died at the age of 79Justice Antonin Scalia, a towering conservative voice on the US Supreme Court, has died at the age of 79, triggering a political showdown over his succession in the run-up to the presidential election. President Barack Obama ordered flags to fly at half-staff across the United States until the long-serving justice, first appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1986, is laid to rest. Scalia’s death after three decades on the Supreme Court bench has profound ramifications, and could potentially tip the balance of the highest court in the land from its current 5-4 conservative majority to a liberal one.

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