Justice Antonin Scalia brilliantly interpreted the United States Constitution.
His death is a loss to all Americans.
Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse:
“A tireless defender of the rule of law, Justice Scalia’s precise thinking, sharp wit, and unwavering commitment to American constitutionalism will be remembered for generations. We are grateful for his service and heartbroken at this sudden loss. Melissa and I uphold the Scalia family in our thoughts and prayers.”
Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer:
“Our nation mourns the loss of a brilliant legal mind and selfless servant of the law. Justice Scalia lived a life dedicated to preserving and upholding the rights granted by our Constitution. Bruce and I join all Nebraskans in offering our condolences and prayers for the Scalia family.”
Iowa Senator, and Senate Judiciary Chairman, Chuck Grassley:
“He was a person who interpreted the Constitution to its original intent, and that he’ll be badly missed for that reason, and he leaves quite a legacy of scholarship.”
FYI, from an old Slate Magazine article, here is what happens when there is a 4-4 tie in the Supreme Court, which would be the case until a new Justice is confirmed:
Although rare, 4-4 ties are hardly unheard-of—justices do recuse themselves from time to time. A split decision effectively upholds the ruling of the lower court (presumably a state supreme court). In the event of such a tie, the court typically issues what’s known as a per curiam decision. The opinion in such a decision is issued under the court’s name, as opposed to consisting of a majority and a minority opinion. Justices, however, may attach dissenting opinions to the per curiam decision if they like—as happened in Bush v. Gore.
When a 4-4 deadlock does occur, the case is not deemed to have set any sort of precedent. Tradition holds that the court’s per curiam opinion in such ties is usually very, very terse, often consisting of no more than a single sentence: “The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided court.”