U.S. Supreme Court opens first session without Antonin Scalia

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The Courtroom of the Supreme Court showing Associate Justice Antonin Scalia's Bench Chair and the Bench in front of his seat draped in black following his death on February 13, 2016. Full credit: Franz Jantzen/Supreme Court of the United States

WASHINGTON — Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts started the high court’s first day back in session Monday with a tribute to the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

“The drapery signifies our period of mourning,” he said, referring to the traditional black crepe that is hung over Scalia’s seat and over the Supreme Court doors. “Today marks the loss of our friend and colleague who died unexpectedly.”

Roberts called Scalia a man for all seasons and with an irrepressible spirit. He also described Scalia’s record on the court, noting that he authored 292 opinions.

Roberts added, “he was known on occasion to dissent,” which prompted laughs inside the room. Scalia’s fiery and blunt dissents have become legendary and are signature of his legacy.

Scalia’s funeral was held Saturday.

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