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University of Texas at Austin

Scalia's death flips Supreme Court dynamics, hurts conservative hopes

Justice Antonin Scalia's sudden death Saturday flips the dynamics of the Supreme Court and undermines conservative hopes for far-reaching victories on important social controversies such as abortion, immigration and unions.

Regardless of the battle between President Barack Obama and Republican leaders in the Senate over a successor, the absence of Scalia tilts the balance of the current court and could blunt the impact of a term filled with controversies that dominate the nation's political conversation.

And it will affect the next term, as well. If Republicans hold to their pledge not to confirm anyone Obama nominates, it will have a dramatic impact on the cases an...