WASHINGTON (AP) — A black-draped chair on the Supreme Court bench once signaled that a justice had died, but those somber memorials have been increasingly uncommon at the court as its members have chosen to retire rather than hold their office until death.

Justice Antonin Scalia’s death Saturday at the age of 79 marks only the second time in more than 60 years that an active justice has died.

“Dying this suddenly on the bench is the exception, not the rule, for the justices in the twentieth century,” said Washington and Lee University law professor Todd C. Peppers, who has written about the fact that chief justices seem more likely than other justices to die while in office.

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