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June 17, 2014
Maricopa County Sheriff's Dept.

On Monday, police in Phoenix, Arizona, announced that they've arrested a homeless ex-convict for the June 11 murder of a Catholic priest, Rev. Kenneth Walker, and the beating of his colleague, Rev. Joseph Terra. The accused, 54-year-old Gary Michael Moran, has already spent at least eight years in jail for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and drug charges, and police say he stole a camera and car from the priests.

The story of the assault is where the tragic story gets interesting. According to police, Rev. Terra opened the door of the Mother of Mercy Mission rectory to look into noises in the courtyard when Moran attacked him and beat him with a metal rod. Injured, Terra retrieved his .357-caliber handgun from his room, but Moran allegedly took it from him and robbed Terra at gunpoint before the priest blacked out. When he woke up, Rev. Walker had been shot by Terra's gun.

Terra was able to give Walker last rites before he died later that night. Arizona Republic columnist E.J. Montini notes that the two priests "operated in a tough part of town," then asks the obvious question: "Should a Catholic priest carry a handgun?" They are legally allowed to, of course, Montini notes, adding that he has "read that the church has no overarching policy on priests and weapons. Nor does the Phoenix Diocese." But, he adds:

The former altar boy in me can't imagine any of the priests I met as a kid carrying a weapon. Passing through our parish once was a priest who was said to have served as a battlefield chaplain during World War II. When asked if he was afraid to be in unarmed in a war zone he laughed and said, "I wasn't unarmed." Then he reached into his pocket and pulled out a rosary. [Arizona Republic]

Times, apparently, have changed. Peter Weber

7:59 p.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died Saturday at the age of 79, had a way with words. In court, those words weren't so much spoken as thundered. And in his memorable dissents or important majority decisions, those words could often be described as biting.

The Catholic, Italian-American justice, the longest-serving on the court, was passionate about his belief in the Constitution and his faith.

"He was a hysteric in cases he cared about most," legal scholar Cass Sunstein told NPR. The cases that fired him up ranged from same-sex marriage and prayer in public school, to the death penalty and ObamaCare.

Scalia so intensely disagreed with the court's 2015 decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act ruling that he voiced his colorful dissent aloud from the bench, with phrases like "jiggery-pokery," "quite absurd," "feeble arguments," and "pure applesauce."

Words were important to Scalia, both in his reading of the Constitution ("The Constitution that I interpret and apply is not living but dead, or as I prefer to call it, enduring.") and in his "carefully crafted" opinions, which will live on long after his death.

Read more about Antonin Scalia's life, career, and legacy at NPR. Lauren Hansen

6:41 p.m. ET
Getty Images/Alex Wong

Following the unexpected death of conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Saturday, Republicans and Democrats immediately began fighting over who should select his replacement. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement that "this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president," while Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said President Obama "can and should send the Senate a nominee right away."

Were Obama to nominate Scalia's replacement, it would dramatically refashion the ideological make-up of the court, with the reliably conservative Scalia almost certainly being replaced by a liberal like Obama's other two nominees, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. Ben Frumin

6:12 p.m. ET
Getty Images/Kayana Szymczak

In the wake of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's unexpected death on Saturday, several prominent conservatives argued on Twitter that the next president — and not President Obama — should select Scalia's replacement. Were a Democratic president to nominate Scalia's replacement, it would dramatically refashion the ideological make-up of the court, with the reliably conservative Scalia almost certainly being replaced by a liberal like Obama's other two appointments, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.

Here's GOP presidential contender Ted Cruz:

And influential National Review writer Charles C.W. Cooke:

Expect to see a lot more of this. Ben Frumin

6:12 p.m. ET

After word spread of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's unexpected death Saturday, presidential candidates mourned the longest-serving justice in statements and on Twitter.

Scalia reportedly died of natural causes Saturday at a luxury ranch in West Texas. He was 79. News of his death comes just hours before the remaining six Republican presidential candidates meet in South Carolina for their ninth debate. Lauren Hansen

5:49 p.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Image

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the death of Justice Antonin Scalia on Saturday, mourning his colleague as "an extraordinary jurist, admired and treasured by his colleagues." Roberts called Scalia's passing "a great loss to the court," which may see its ideological make-up dramatically refashioned as the Democratic president seeks to replace the late conservative justice.

Here's Roberts' full statement. Ben Frumin

5:48 p.m. ET
Getty Images

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead Saturday at a luxury resort in West Texas, according to federal officials.

Several state and federal agencies are conducting an investigation, but officials say it appears the 79-year-old died of natural causes. Scalia had arrived at the Cibolo Creek Ranch on Friday for a private party. When he didn't show up for breakfast, an employee of the ranch went to his room and reportedly found his body.

Scalia, the longest-serving justice on the Supreme Court, was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986 and established a strong conservative voting record over his tenure. His death has the potential to dramatically reshape the ideological make-up of the court.

In a statement, Chief Justice John Roberts said he was saddened to hear of his colleague's death. "He was an extraordinary individual and jurist, admired and treasured by his colleagues. His passing is a great loss to the Court and the country he so loyally served."

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott echoed those sentiments in his statement, calling Scalia, "a man of God, a patriot, and an unwavering defender of the written Constitution and the Rule of Law." Lauren Hansen

2:16 p.m. ET
Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The State Department marked 81 of more than 500 Hillary Clinton emails released Saturday as confidential, The Hill reports. Another three were upgraded to "secret" status, and none were marked "top secret," the highest designation.

None of the emails released Saturday had been marked confidential when they were originally sent.

The State Department still has more than 3,000 emails to release from Clinton's private server, which she used as secretary of state. Julie Kliegman

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