- Associated Press - Sunday, May 15, 2016

HILLSDALE, Mich. (AP) - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas tells graduates of a conservative Michigan college it’s been a “most difficult term” on the court since the death of Antonin Scalia.

Thomas told Hillsdale College’s roughly 350 graduates Saturday during a commencement speech that the difficulty is “underscored by the sudden and tragic passing of my colleague and friend.” Thomas says Scalia, who died in February, was a “good man whom I could instinctively trust.”

The court has split 4-4 in some cases since Scalia’s death, which has deprived the court’s conservatives of a fifth, majority-making vote on high-profile issues. Republican legislative leaders oppose confirming federal Judge Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s nominee.

Thomas says Scalia made the court “a better place for me” in the quarter-century they served together.

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