TED CRUZ: Obama shouldn't appoint Justice Scalia's successor

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Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Dies at 79

Presidential candidate and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) lauded Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia after news of the justice's death broke Saturday, but said President Barack Obama should not be the one to appoint his replacement.

"Justice Scalia was an American hero. We owe it to him, & the Nation, for the Senate to ensure that the next President names his replacement," he tweeted.

Cruz, who served as Texas' solicitor general argued several cases in front of Scalia, praised the justice's decades-long tenure on the court. He singled out his insistence on a textual interpretation of the US Constitution.

Click through reactions to Justice Antonin Scalia's death:

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TED CRUZ: Obama shouldn't appoint Justice Scalia's successor
The totally unexpected loss of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is a massive setback for the Conservative movement and our COUNTRY!
My statement on the passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia: https://t.co/vxgIicZxYy
Justice Scalia was an American hero. We owe it to him, & the Nation, for the Senate to ensure that the next President names his replacement.
#Scalia death thrusts the Supreme Court 2016 presidential contest - if the Senate won't confirm an Obama pick, kicks to POTUS 45 #GOPDebate
Justice Scalia was a defender of the constitution, an important conservative voice in the court. He will be missed. https://t.co/cOB3juvx7A
Devastating lose of Justice Scalia. A legal giant who steered the Supreme Court onto the Constitution. God Bless him.
God bless Anthony Scalia, finest Sup Ct Justice RIP
Sorry to hear of the sudden passing of Judge #Scalia, a strong and conservative voice on the SCOTUS.
Antonin Scalia was a leader, a protector of our constitutional rights. His influence will be missed. Our prayers are with his family.
My prayers are with the family of #JusticeScalia.
A great light has gone out. Justice Scalia was a great protector of freedom & liberty. He will be missed.
#RIP Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the greatest constitutional scholars to ever serve #US on the bench. Thoughts are with his family.
I'm very sorry to learn of the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia - a defender of the Constitution and a dedicated public servant.
I offer my condolences to the family of Justice Scalia. The nation is grateful for his nearly 30 years of service on the Supreme Court.
Saddened by the loss of Justice Antonin Scalia. He proudly served our country & defended our Constitution. My prayers are with his family.
Very sad to hear of Justice Antonin Scalia's death today. He will be missed as a champion of the Constitution and rule of law. #SCOTUS
My thoughts are with Justice Scalia's family. Though I didn't share his philosophy, I admired his patriotism.
Jeanette & I mourn the loss of Justice Scalia, and our thoughts & prayers are with his wife Maureen & his family. https://t.co/e03KRZRM6q
My thoughts and prayers are with Justice Scalia's family and his colleagues on the court who mourn his passing. https://t.co/Y51xUMMEId

"Today our Nation mourns the loss of one of the greatest Justices in history – Justice Antonin Scalia," Cruz said in a statement. "A champion of our liberties and a stalwart defender of the Constitution, he will go down as one of the few Justices who single-handedly changed the course of legal history."

The statement continued:

"As liberals and conservatives alike would agree, through his powerful and persuasive opinions, Justice Scalia fundamentally changed how courts interpret the Constitution and statutes, returning the focus to the original meaning of the text after decades of judicial activism. And he authored some of the most important decisions ever, including District of Columbia v. Heller, which recognized our fundamental right under the Second Amendment to keep and bear arms. He was an unrelenting defender of religious liberty, free speech, federalism, the constitutional separation of powers, and private property rights. All liberty-loving Americans should be in mourning."

Others wasted little time predicting the political fallout of Scalia 's sudden death Saturday.

A spokesperson for Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) tweeted that Senate Republicans would likely attempt to push the confirmation of Scalia's replacement into the next president's term.

Indeed, the replacement of Supreme Court justices has become a major 2016 presidential campaign issue, as court watchers had speculated that some current members of the bench could retire. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's website has an entire page dedicated to the court, warning supporters that a Republican president could oversee a shift to the right.

"As many as four seats on the Supreme Court could become vacant during the next few years — which means that a Republican president could have the power to transform the court, and American law, for generations to come," Clinton's site says.

"That's why it's so terrifying when Ted Cruz says he would be 'willing to spend the capital to ensure that every Supreme Court nominee that I put on the court is a principled judicial conservative.' But he's not alone: all of the Republican candidates for president are likely to appoint staunchly conservative justices."

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