EL PASO - UPDATE:  ABC-7 has confirmed the body of the late Justice Antonin Scalia will be delivered to Sunset Funeral Home in northeast El Paso sometime early Sunday morning. The body will be driven from Marfa, Texas.
EL PASO -- An El Paso source close to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia tells ABC-7 that the 79-year-old died in his sleep last night after a day of quail hunting at Cibolo Creek Ranch outside of Marfa, Texas.

The Justice did not report feeling ill and retired to his room after dinner. The source, who was traveling with Scalia, told ABC-7 a priest was summoned to administer last rites.

El Paso Catholic Diocese Spokeswoman Elizabeth O'Hara tells ABC-7 Catholic Priest Mike Alcuino, in  Presidio, was called to the ranch, where he administered Justice Scalia's last rites Saturday afternoon.
Scalia was the longest-serving Justice on the current Supreme Court at the time of his death. He was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, and was unanimously confirmed without a nomination fight to become the Court's first Italian-American justice.Scalia and his wife, Maureen, had nine children.  Born in Trenton, New Jersey March 11, 1936, he was less than a month from his eightieth birthday.
The issue of his replacement is virtually certain to a major political story during a presidential election year.   ABC-7 managing editor Eric Huseby said, "Republican senators will be under enormous pressure from their donors and electoral base to refuse to confirm an appointment from President Obama that would tip the balance of the Court to a 5-4 majority of Democratic appointees.  And the President will surely do all he can to make that position as politically unpalatable and costly as possible."
Tom Goldstein, who writes about the Supreme Court for SCOTUSBLOG.com doubted that confirmation before the election is possible.  "Theoretically, that process could conclude before the election," he wrote Saturday.  "But realistically, it cannot absent essentially a consensus nominee - and probably not even then, given the stakes. " 
Scalia's legacy is enormous.  CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said Scalia was one of the "handful of most influential Supreme Court justices in history."  He was the Court's leading originalist, fiercely dedicated to the idea that the meaning of the words in the Constitution are fixed based on the framers' understanding at the time they were drafted, and not subject to reinterpretation in later times.
He argued passionately against the contemporary idea of a “living Constitution" that evolves and changes with the times.
“The Constitution is not an organism. It’s a legal text,” Scalia was quoted as saying in a recent Bloomberg Business article. “It means today what it meant when it was adopted.”
His wit, sarcasm and passion for intellectual battle were legendary as well.  In his dissent against last year's landmark ruling affirming the right to same-sex marriage, he concluded a passage questioning the majority assertion that marriage promotes a freedom of intimacy by suggesting that marriage has historically tended to restrict options for intimacy, and suggesting that people, "Ask the nearest hippie."
Here is the complete text of a statement issued by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.:
"On behalf of the Court and retired Justices, I am saddened to report that our colleague Justice Antonin Scalia has passed away.  He was an extraordinary individual and jurist, admired and treasured by his colleagues.  His passing is a great loss to the Court and the country he so loyally served.  We extend our deepest condolences to his wife Maureen and his family."
Here is the complete text of a statement issued by Texas Governor Greg Abbott:
"Justice Antonin Scalia was a man of God, a patriot, and an unwavering defender of the written Constitution and the Rule of Law. He was the solid rock who turned away so many attempts to depart from and distort the Constitution. His fierce loyalty to the Constitution set an unmatched example, not just for judges and lawyers, but for all Americans. We mourn his passing, and we pray that his successor on the Supreme Court will take his place as a champion for the written Constitution and the Rule of Law. Cecilia and I extend our deepest condolences to his family, and we will keep them in our thoughts and prayers."

Justice Scalia’s commencement speech at William & Mary Law School

Last weekend, Justice Antonin Scalia delivered a commencement speech at the College of William & Mary Law School. And unlike with most of Justice Scalia’s speeches, 1) it wasn’t about originalism or interpretive theory, and 2) it is available online.
From the beginning:
I have a philosophy of commencements. They are not for the benefit of the graduates, who would probably rather have their diplomas mailed to them at the beach. They are for the pleasure and satisfaction of the graduates’ families and friends, who take this occasion to observe and celebrate a significant accomplishment on the part of those whom they love. In that respect a commencement is like a wedding or baptism: the primary participants in those events would rather be elsewhere as well. Since that is the nature of a commencement, it does not much matter what the commencement speaker talks about. He can talk about whatever burr is under his saddle, so long as he does not go on too long.
And this, on whether he believes law school should take only two years:
It is a current proposal for reform that law students should be permitted to sit for the bar exam and otherwise be eligible to practice law after only two years of study. . . . I vigorously dissent. It seems to me that the law-school-in-two-years proposal rests on the premise that law school is — or ought to be — a trade school. It is not that. It is a school preparing men and women not for a trade but for a profession — the profession of law. One can practice various aspects of law without knowing much about the whole field. I expect that someone could be taught to be an expert real – estate conveyancer in six weeks, or a tax advisor in six months. And maybe we should train such people — but we should not call them lawyers.
And then there is this one:
In more than a few law schools, including some of the most prestigious (the University of Chicago, for example), it is possible to graduate without ever having studied the First Amendment. Can someone really call himself an American lawyer who has that gap in his compendious knowledge of the law? And can a society that depends so much upon lawyers for shaping public perceptions and preserving American traditions regarding the freedom of speech and religion, afford so ignorant a bar?
I am all in favor of more students taking constitutional law courses, but I am not quite sure why Justice Scalia picks on the University of Chicago as his example. I am pretty sure that one can graduate from Harvard, Yale and Stanford without taking the First Amendment, too (Harvard, like Chicago, does not require constitutional law, and I don’t think the intro course at Yale or Stanford necessarily includes the First Amendment, though some faculty may cover it briefly).

Folks, you’re missing the point about the Ninth Circuit Court decision

I know the topic du jour is the Ninth Circuit Court decision on President Trump’s temporary travel halt on seven countries — first named by Barack Obama. We can discuss this ad nauseam, ad infinitum, but there’s one thing crystal clear: judicial activism has now crept into foreign policy and national security decisions.
Perhaps this should just be left alone, and let the progressive socialist left own the consequences of our national security. If the liberal progressives no longer believe we are a sovereign nation and entry into our country is a privilege, not a right, then let them own it.
We know what happened with Tashfeen Malik and the fiancee visa. We know what happened, and continues to happen, with student visas. Sadly, no one came out and protested and cried all over the place when Barack Obama did likewise in his tenure with Iran, and changed the Cuban immigration policy in his final week in office. Such abhorrent hypocrisy.

The lesson we need to glean from this court decision, and the reaction of the left is that they cannot be trusted with the national security of the United States. The wholesale move towards the open border and sanctuary city — and state — movement demonstrates they seek to undermine the sovereignty of this Constitutional Republic.
And sadly, there’s more evidence that the liberal progressive left wants to leave America unprotected.
We shared with you earlier this week the sad state for U.S. Navy combat aviation platforms, namely their F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet fleet. We close out the week with more horrific news about the deplorable state of affairs of our military. 
 As reported by the Marine Corps Times, “More than half of all Marine Corps fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft were unable to fly at the end of 2016, officials said on Wednesday. The Marines are struggling to keep aging aircraft flying amid budget cuts, delayed spending bills and more than 15 years of wartime wear-and-tear.  Out of 1,065 Marine Corps aircraft, 439 were flyable as of Dec. 31, said Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, deputy commandant for aviation. That represents roughly 41 percent of the service’s fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft. “
My target should be 589 [flyable aircraft]; so I am 150 airplanes shy of what I need to make my flight-hour goal,” Davis told reporters on Wednesday. “In order to meet my operational commitments, I need a little bit more than that.” 
Since taking the job in June 2014, Davis has been working furiously to get enough Marine Corps planes and helicopters flyable until the service can receive new aircraft, such as the F-35. While the number of aircraft ready to fly on any given day fluctuates, overall the number of flyable aircraft has been improving, Davis said. But only 72 of the Marine Corps’ 280 F/A-18 Hornets were flyable as of Dec. 31, officials said. This is just a quarter of the Corps’ Hornets, and down from September, when 90 Hornets could fly.”
Now of course there’s always a message spin in order to make one feel better: “Davis explained that readiness declined at the end of 2016 due to holidays, including Thanksgiving, Christmas and the Marine Corps Birthday Ball. November and December every year are low productivity months,” said Davis, who noted that 473 Marine aircraft were flyable at the beginning of October.  Of the Marine Corps’ 280 F/A-18 Hornets, 109 were either at or headed to depot in December, Marine Corps spokeswoman Capt. Sarah Burns explained.”
One of the things any good commander looks for is maintenance trends. I’d be interested to know if this has been a recurring trend at the end of every year…and if so, how long has this been going on?
My assessment is that this is yet another ramification of the eight years of an Obama administration that sought to and did spend more on welfare programs than our national security.
What every concerned American must realize now is that in this period of transition, we are telegraphing a serious deficiency and weakness. The left has so decimated our force, and yes, this clearly falls at the lap of the one who was commander in chief for the past eight years. As well, we have just telegraphed to the world — especially to Islamic jihadists — that the doors are wide open.
One of the countries that Obama, and subsequently President Trump, labeled as a terrorist hot spot is Syria. In Syria the base of operations for the Islamic State is Raqqa and we know ISIS has the capability to produce fake passports. So for Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and the others of the left, we as a sovereign nation cannot take 90 to120 days to get this right, to ensure we’re protecting the American people.
My prayer is that we don’t suffer any Islamic terror attack. History will tell us that we should gird ourselves, as you recall, 9-11 came in President George W. Bush’s first year. And that came after the weakness of one Bill Clinton in dealing with the terrorist threat — then al-Qaida.
We now face a more savage and barbaric enemy and have already witnessed their deeds in Paris and Brussels. Yes, Osama bin Laden was killed, but what difference at this point does it make? It hasn’t slowed down the global Islamic jihad at all. And you can thank the progressive socialist left, who appear to be in full alliance and collusion with Islamo-fascists, for working hard to drop our guard and leave us unprotected.
And if the leftists who’ve commandeered the Democrat Party truly believe this is what Americans want, and ever have a chance to wield political power in America — y’all are kidding yourselves. My prediction is simple: expect a Democrat bloodbath in the 2018 midterm elections…they’re proving to be a radical Party that seeks to undermine our nation, and its security.

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