IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Tributes Pour in for Justice Scalia From Both Sides of Aisle

Chief Justice John Roberts called him "an extraordinary individual and jurist, admired and treasured by his colleagues."

Tributes for larger-than-life Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia poured in Saturday from both sides of the political aisle after the conservative judge's death at age 79.

President Barack Obama said Scalia was “one of the towering legal figures of our time.” Former President George W. Bush called Scalia “a brilliant jurist.”

And Chief Justice John Roberts called him "an extraordinary individual and jurist, admired and treasured by his colleagues."

"His passing is a great loss to the Court and the country he loyally served. We extend our deepest condolences to his wife Maureen and his family," Roberts said in a statement on behalf of the high court and retired justices.

Related: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Dead at 79

Scalia, the court's most influential conservative, was known for his fiery dissents and colorful use of language. He was nominated in 1986 under President Ronald Reagan, and was confirmed unanimously.

"He was a towering figure and important judge on our nation's highest court," Bush said.

"He brought intellect, good judgment, and wit to the bench, and he will be missed by his colleagues and our country. Laura and I send our heartfelt sympathies and condolences to his wife, Maureen, their nine children, and the entire Scalia family," Bush added.

Related: How GOP Candidates Are Reacting to Scalia's Death

Flags at the Capitol and in New York City — Scalia, the nation’s first Italian-American Supreme Court justice, grew up in Queens — were ordered lowered to half-staff.

"Justice Scalia did more to advance originalism and judicial restraint than anyone in our time, and it all started with just two words: ‘I dissent,’” Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said in a statement.

“A devout Catholic, he was fond of quoting St. Paul, who commanded us to ‘think soberly.’ That Justice Scalia did, always, and our republic is better for it,” Ryan said.

Related: There's Now A Supreme Court Vacancy. What Happens Next?

Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow said Scalia, who graduated magna cum laude in 1960, left a lasting impression on the high court.

"Justice Scalia will be remembered as one of the most influential jurists in American history — he changed how the Court approaches statutory interpretation, and in countless areas introduced new ways of thinking about the Constitution and the role of the Court that will remain important for years to come," Minow said.

"He was a man of great learning," Minow said. "He was also one of the most effective writers in the history of the Court, and he had an exceptional gift for the memorable phrase. He had a terrific sense of humor, which was accompanied by great personal warmth."

Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton said that while they did not agree with his views they respected him.

"While I differed with Justice Scalia’s views and jurisprudence, he was a brilliant, colorful and outspoken member of the Supreme Court," Sanders said.

Related: A Look at Justice Scalia's Most Controversial Remarks and Colorful Dissents

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch called Scalia “one of the most influential and eloquent justices to ever serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.”

“His indomitable conviction and his fierce intelligence left a lasting imprint — not just on the way the Supreme Court resolves cases, but on the legal landscape that he helped to transform,” Lynch said.

“A lion of American law has left the stage, and it is up to all of us — every American — to keep our national constitutional dialogue as lively and as learned as he left it,” she said.