When news broke that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had died suddenly at the age of 79, Twitter was filled with the customary stream of condolence tweets that follow the loss of any public figure.
Because of Scalia’s conservative record, however, many of the social media missives had a political bent. Republican congressmen and presidential candidates paid tribute to the justice, while at the same time stating that his replacement should not be named until after the presidential election:
On the Democratic side, Sen. Bernie Sanders did not take a position on Scalia’s successor, simply calling the justice “brilliant, colorful and outspoken.” However, Hillary Clinton took Republicans to task for suggesting that a Supreme Court seat remain vacant for a year. Senator Harry Reid, the Senate’s Democratic leader, took a similar view in a series of tweets:
There were few open tributes to Scalia outside of the political realm—most of the commentary about him from regular Twitter users consisted of quiet condemnations of his rulings. The more open vitriol was directed at the Republican lawmakers who suggested leaving the seat vacant:
Of course, there were several people who fantasized about the nominee President Barack Obama would eventually put forward:
For his part, Mr. Obama said in a statement tonight that the Senate should give his eventual nominee “a fair hearing and a timely vote.”