Conservative Justice Antonin Scalia was a right-wing voice on the Supreme Court ever since he was nominated by Ronald Reagan and confirmed in 1986. Since that time, Scalia has been a voice for the hard right, often taking a hard line against a woman's right choose and an open opponent of gay rights and same-sex marriage. The question that many are asking now is what's next?

Scalia passes away

According to the Dallas Morning News, Scalia was on vacation with about 40 others who were invited to the Cibolo Creek Ranch in West Texas. After not attending breakfast, the Justice was found dead in his bedroom of apparent natural causes at the age of 79-years-old.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement, referring to Scalia as a "man of God, a patriot, and an unwavering defender of the written Constitution and the Rule of Law."

Scalia was held in high esteem from conservatives and the GOP, who often looked to him for leadership on the court for nearly three decades. Liberals and many in the media often had a different opinion. Columnist Maureen Dowd referred to Scalia as "Archie Bunker in a high-backed chair" and Former Democratic Congressman Barney Frank, who was openly gay, labeled the Justice as a "homophone."

Current court status

Scalia was the second oldest Justice on the Supreme Court, liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg being 83-years-old, and his death now creates a vacancy. President Obama will have the opportunity to nominate his third Justice to the Supreme Court, with his prior nominees, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, both being confirmed.

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Prior to Scalia's death, the court was tipped to conservatives, with five right wing Justices and four liberal leaning Justices holding seats. While it's widely expected that Obama will nominated liberal to tilt the court back to the left, it's unknown whether or not the Republican controlled Congress will hold a vote on the matter. Defense Department lawyer Jeh Johnson is a name that has been thrown out as a possible nominee.  With the 2016 election heating up, the issue of the Supreme Court is poised to be a hot topic that could dominate the remainder of the race.