Chief justice pays tribute to late Supreme Court colleague Scalia

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Funeral Homily Given for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

(Reuters) - U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts on Monday paid tribute to his late colleague Justice Antonin Scalia in brief remarks as the Supreme Court returned to the bench.

Roberts called Scalia "our man for all seasons" and said he and his colleagues "shall miss him beyond measure."

SEE ALSO: Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas hasn't asked a question in a decade

The court was sitting for the first time since Scalia, 79, died on Feb. 13 at a Texas hunting resort. His chair, draped in black, was left empty as the eight remaining justices prepared to hear oral arguments in two cases.

RELATED GALLERY: See photos from his funeral

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Chief justice pays tribute to late Supreme Court colleague Scalia
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 was a conservative mainstay who was known for posing tough questions to lawyers and for provoking laughter with his observations during oral arguments.

His death left the court with four conservatives and four liberals, and triggered a furious fight between President Barack Obama, who is set to name Scalia's successor, and Senate Republicans who have vowed to block any nominee from the Democratic president, with the court's balance of power at stake.

Court observers said Scalia could have represented the deciding vote in one of the two cases to be argued on Monday, involving the rights of criminal defendants.

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