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February 13, 2016

Local politicians react to Trenton native Justice Scalia's death

Presidential candidates also weigh in as nomination process already stirring controversy

Shortly after the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Saturday, a number of local politicians reacted to the news, expressing their condolences.

Scalia was a native of Trenton, New Jersey, and several state officials praised the conservative justice's career.

Gov. Chris Christie released a short statement following the news. He noted that Scalia was the first Italian American to serve on the Supreme Court, calling him a "bedrock" of the court.

U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance, a Republican representing New Jersey's 7th District, told Scalia was a "son" of the state:

"He was a son of New Jersey. His intellect, wisdom and strict defense of our nation's constitution will be his lasting legacy."

Both of Pennsylvania's U.S. senators, Bob Casey and Pat Toomey, took to Twitter to mourn Scalia's passing.

Many national politicians also reacted to Scalia's death, including several presidential candidates.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said that while he disagreed with many of Scalia's opinions, he thought he was "brilliant" and said his thoughts and prayers were with his family.

Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz also released statements, praising Scalia's conservative approach to the bench and adding that the next nominee needed to continue his work.

Both Cruz and Rubio said that the next president, not Barack Obama, should nominate the next justice, which would mean waiting to fill the vacancy for nearly an entire year. 

Hillary Clinton denounced that idea in a statement issued in response to Scalia's passing, adding that while she did not share his conservative views, she respected his service.

The GOP frontrunner in the race, Donald Trump, was characteristically less reserved than the other candidates, calling Scalia's death a "setback" for the country's conservative movement.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said while he and Scalia had differences, he respected his work as a dedicated public servant.

Reid also preemptively warned his Republican colleagues against potentially blocking the next nominee to replace Scalia until President Obama leaves office in January 2017.

Obama also expressed condolences to Scalia's family, saying the justice would be missed by his colleagues and his country.

Former presidential candidate and Congresswoman Michelle Bachman also mourned Scalia's passing, however, was unable to get his name right, referring to him as "Anthony" instead of Antonin.

Bachman posted the tweet around 6 p.m. and as of 8 p.m. Saturday had not corrected it.