Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the judicial standard-bearer of the conservative movement and the court’s most provocative member, died Saturday. He was 79. His death means President Obama could have an unprecedented chance to try to shift the balance of the court during his final year in office — setting up a Senate battle in the heat of an election year. The U.S. Marshals Service in Washington confirmed Scalia’s death at a private residence in the Big Bend area of south Texas.

The service’s spokeswoman, Donna Sellers, says Scalia had retired for the evening and was found dead Saturday morning when he did not appear for breakfast. “He was an extraordinary individual and jurist, admired and treasured by his colleagues,” Chief Justice John Roberts said on behlf of the high court and and retired justices. “We extend our deepest condolences to his wife, Maureen, and his family.” READ MORE