Scalia mourned as late U.S. Justice's funeral draws thousands

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Nation Pays Respects to Justice Antonin Scalia


Thousands of mourners gathered for the funeral of Antonin Scalia, the U.S. Supreme Court justice whose conservative views and outspoken nature made him one of the country's most recognizable and controversial legal figures.

Scalia's son Paul, a priest, is presiding over the Saturday mass in Washington at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the country's largest Roman Catholic church.

The eight remaining members of the court were expected to attend the funeral, along with retired Justices John Paul Stevens and David Souter and Vice President Joe Biden. Justice Clarence Thomas is scheduled to deliver one of the Bible readings, and Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, will speak.

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Scalia mourned as late U.S. Justice's funeral draws thousands
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 20: With family members following behind, pallbearers carry the casket of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia up the steps of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, February 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. Scalia, who died February 13 while on a hunting trip in Texas, layed in repose in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court on Friday and his funeral service will be at the basillica today. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 20: With family members following behind, pallbearers carry the casket of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia up the steps of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, February 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. Scalia, who died February 13 while on a hunting trip in Texas, layed in repose in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court on Friday and his funeral service will be at the basillica today. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
The casket of US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is carried into the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for his funeral mass on February 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. Scalia died on February 13 at the age of 79. / AFP / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
The casket of US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is carried into the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for his funeral mass on February 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. Scalia died on February 13 at the age of 79. / AFP / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 20: U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife Virginia Thomas arrive for the funeral for fellow Associate Justice Antonin Scalia at the the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception February 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. Scalia, who died February 13 while on a hunting trip in Texas, layed in repose in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court on Friday and his funeral service will be at the basillica today. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 20: Former Vice President Dick Cheney, left, and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas take their seats for funeral Mass for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia inside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception February 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. Scalia, who died February 13 while on a hunting trip in Texas, layed in repose in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court on Friday and his funeral service will be at the basillica today. (Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 20: People arrive for the funeral for the late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, February 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. Scalia, who died February 13 while on a hunting trip in Texas, layed in repose in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court on Friday and his funeral service will be at the basillica today. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 20: Republican presidental candiate Sen. Ted Cruz, center, and former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, upper left, take their seats for funeral Mass for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia inside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception February 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. Scalia, who died February 13 while on a hunting trip in Texas, layed in repose in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court on Friday and his funeral service will be at the basillica today. (Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 20: People arrive for funeral Mass for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia inside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception February 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. Scalia, who died February 13 while on a hunting trip in Texas, layed in repose in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court on Friday and his funeral service will be at the basillica today. (Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 20: Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and his wife Jane Sullivan Roberts lead a procession of current and former Supreme Court justices down the steps of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception at the end of the funeral for late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, February 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. Scalia, who died February 13 while on a hunting trip in Texas, layed in repose in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court on Friday and his funeral service will be at the basillica today. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 20: With family members following behind, pallbearers carry the casket of late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia down the steps of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception at the end of the funeral, February 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. Scalia, who died February 13 while on a hunting trip in Texas, layed in repose in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court on Friday and his funeral service will be at the basillica today. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 20: People look on during the funeral Mass for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception February 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. Scalia, who died February 13 while on a hunting trip in Texas, layed in repose in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court on Friday and his funeral service will be at the basillica today. (Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)
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Scalia died at a West Texas ranch Feb. 13 at age 79, leaving behind his wife Maureen, nine children and 36 grandchildren.

Scalia's son Christopher eulogized his father in the Washington Post this week, describing a man who would tease his children when they said "um" and dispute calls during "the Scalia Bowl," as the family called its Thanksgiving touch football game.

"Even when dinner conversation proceeded 'um'-free, it could still descend into another of Dad's favorite pastimes: crumpling his napkin into a ball and throwing it into one of our glasses," Christopher Scalia wrote. "Counterattacks were futile, equipped as he was with a narrow wine glass."

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On Friday, President Barack Obama and thousands of other mourners paid their respects as Scalia's flag-draped casket lay in repose in the Supreme Court's ceremonial hallway. In a somber morning ceremony, his tearful former colleagues stood in their new seating order as pallbearers brought the casket into the marble building. Almost 100 of Scalia's former law clerks attended the ceremony at the court, and they took turns standing watch over the casket throughout the day and night.

Scalia served for almost three decades on the nation's highest court, making his mark by advocating an "originalist" approach to the constitution that limited protections to those specifically laid out in the document. He was known for his bluntness, wit and sarcasm, both in his opinions and in public appearances.

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His unexpected death leaves a vacancy on the court that's generated political controversy during a U.S. presidential election year. Senate Republicans are aiming to stop Obama from filling the seat before he leaves office in January.

The burial will be private, and the Supreme Court hasn't released details.

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