Saturday, 20 February 2016
Antonin Scalia death: President Obama pays respects
US President Barack Obama has paid tribute to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia who died last week, throwing the court into uncertainty.
Mr Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama were among thousands of people who visited Scalia's coffin in the court's Great Hall in Washington DC.
The president has been criticised for saying he will not attend the justice's funeral in the city on Saturday.
Scalia's death left the conservative-run court evenly divided.
It also set off a battle in a presidential election year over Mr Scalia's successor into the nine-member body.
The White House said shortly after Scalia's death that a new judge would be nominated by Mr Obama after next week.
Republicans have demanded President Barack Obama - a Democrat - leave this to his successor next year.
According to the constitution, the president nominates justices to the court while the Senate - currently controlled by the Republicans - uses its "advice and consent" powers to confirm or reject that person.
Scalia, 79, was found dead at a Texan ranch on Saturday. He had died of natural causes.
The death of a powerful conservative voice on the bench of the country's highest court threatens to spark a constitutional crisis in the US.
In recent years, the court has made key rulings on gay marriage, abortion and Mr Obama's key healthcare legislation.