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Justice Antonin Scalia's death shifts balance of high court, creates major election issue

Justice Antonin Scalia's death shifts balance of high court, creates major election issue

The death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court's most acerbic conservative voice, immediately changes the balance of the nation's highest court and thrusts its future into the center of the already intense presidential campaign.

Until Scalia's death at age 79, the high court had been divided between four appointees of Democratic presidents, all fairly liberal, and five Republican appointees, all relatively conservative. Scalia's death will leave the justices evenly split, unable to definitively resolve several major issues and with the partisan balance to be determined by the next nominee.

Democratic appointees have not had a majority on the high court for more than...

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