this is "nightline." >> tonight, liar, liar, liar. escalation, the race for president getting even nastier and more chaotic. >> single worst liar i've ever seen. >> from schoolyard taunts to family feuds as jeb bush brings out his brother, the former president. >> in my experience, the strongest person usually isn't the loudest one in the room. >> the world trade center came down during his reign, so -- >> add into this combustible mix the sudden death of a supreme court justice. and an epic battle looming over how and when -- >> i do not believe the president should appoint someone -- >> >> it was a golden night at the grammys. performs by music's finest. fierce competition between rapper kendrick lamar and the pop sensation taylor swift.
hailing hero of the past. lady gaga's electrifying performance. paying homage to music icon david bowie. but first the "nightline 5." ♪ >> the bold nissan rogue with intuitive all-wheel drive. because winter needs a hero. now get a $189 per month lease on the 2016 nissan rogue. nissan, innovation that excites. >> number one in just 60 seconds.
good evening. just when you thought the race for president couldn't get any crazier, we saw escalations on several fronts today. from candidates crying liar, liar, essentially, to new threats of a lawsuit to a war of words between donald trump and the former president george w. bush, who was out on the stump for his brother jeb tonight. and adding fuel to this inferno there is now an epic political battle looming after the sudden death of a supreme court justice, antonin scalia. >> george w. bush! >> reporter: usually when former presidents hit the campaign trail it's a reasonably poe heat affair. >> how are you doing, thanks for your service. >> reporter: hours before george w. bush went out to stump for his brother jeb in south carolina, he got hit by a hurricane known as donald j. trump. >> are you ready? >> yeah. >> the world trade center came down during his reign, so -- that was, you know -- it's like he was the top. the world trade center came down. >> reporter: in response, w. didn't call out trump by name
but it was pretty obvious who he was talking about. >> it is not bluster. it is not theatrics. real strength, strength of purpose, comes from integrity and character. and in my experience, the strongest person usually isn't the loudest one in the room. >> reporter: the former president also defended his handling of 9/11, talking about how he reacted when he learned, while reading to a group of schoolkids in florida, that a second plane had hit the towers. >> my first reaction is i was hot. we're going to deal with these people. my second reaction, when i was staring at this young child, is that my job became crystal clear. and that is to protect her, her community, and her country. >> reporter: then jeb rose to speak. >> i thought it was a little strange that a front-running candidate would attack the president of the united states who did keep us safe.
while he was building a reality tv show -- >> reporter: trump is fighting a multi-front battle right now, with t-minus five days until the south carolina primary. >> ted cruz is desperate. yeah i think ted's a very unstable guy. >> reporter: aside from slamming the bushes he is also spewing venom at texas senator ted cruz. >> single worst liar i've ever seen. >> the l-word is not something you see thrown around much in politics. the fact that donald trump went from and has taken this to a personal level, this is no longer about policy, it's about personality. >> reporter: for good measure, florida senator marco rubio is joining the liar pants on fire choir. both men accuse cruz of distorting their records. >> there's no other word for it but liar. >> i would note when marco rubio and donald trump scream liar, liar, liar, makes you wonder how they would handle dealing with putin. >> reporter: in the battle with cruz trump says he's willing to go past name calling to litigation. >> i'm going to bring a lawsuit
because in my opinion, based on what i've learned the past two or three days, he doesn't even have the right to serve as president. or even run as president. he was born in canada. >> the world trade center came down -- >> reporter: as you absorb the mayhem in the republican race -- >> you probably are worse than jeb bush. >> reporter: consider that it is now playing out against the backdrop of what promises to be a historic battle set off by the sudden death of supreme court justice antonin scalia over the weekend. >> i, antonin scalia, do solemnly swear -- >> reporter: scalia was the longest-serving justice on the bench, appointed by ronald reagan in 1986. he was a pillar of conservative thought known for his biting dissents and his belief that ruling should be guided by the words of the constitution as it was drafted. saturday morning, justice scalia was found dead in his room at this hunting ranch in texas. reportedly of natural causes. he was 79.
word of his sudden passing hit washington, d.c. like a thunderbolt. >> we are one justice away from losing our fundamental rights in this country. >> scalia's death throws a huge unknown factor into this campaign. it has the potential to scramble the entire race for president. >> reporter: the constitution says the. >> sitting president can nominate the next justice, which is what president obama says he will do. >> i plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibilities to nominate a successor in due time. >> reporter: but that successor needs to be confirmed by the u.s. senate. which is controlled by the republicans. and in an unprecedented statement just an hour after confirmation of scalia's death, the senate majority leader mitch mcconnell said he would block any obama nominee. "the american people should have a voice in the selection of their next supreme court justice. therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president."
democratic senator elizabeth warren making this counterpoint in a now-viral facebook post. senator mcconnell is right that the american people should have a voice in the selection of the next supreme court justice. in fact, they did. when president obama won the 2012 election by 5 million votes. >> to have a lame duck president with a party that's the opposition party in the senate at the same time as you have this volatile, angry, raucous presidential campaign -- this confluence of factors has never happened before. >> reporter: with the makeup of the supreme court potentially hanging in the balance, republican presidential candidates are pulling no punches. senator ted cruz wasting no time releasing a new attack ad just yesterday asking south carolina voters if they trust donald trump to choose a supreme court justice. >> we cannot trust donald trump with these serious decisions. >> reporter: at the republican debate saturday night in south carolina, just hours after the news of scalia's death broke, a moment of silence quickly gave
way to the candidates one-upping one another on who could talk toughest on stymieing the president's plan to install a replacement. >> i do not believe the president should appoint someone. >> it's called delay, delay, delay. >> we're not going to give up the u.s. supreme court for a generation by allowing barack obama to make one more liberal appointee. >> reporter: meanwhile the democrats are vowing to put up a fight. hillary clinton signaling she'll make the republican effort to block president obama's nominee a campaign issue. >> let me just make one point. barack obama is president of the united states until january 20th, 2017. >> reporter: the burning question now, who might president obama nominate? 48-year-old srinivasan's name is at the top of many short lists. three years ago his nomination as d.c. circuit judge was unanimously confirm by the senate. he would be the first supreme court justice of south asian descent.
63-year-old meric garland is the chief judge of the d.c. circuit, a widely respected moderate whose name has been floated as a possible nominee before. patricia millet, also the d.c. circuit court. the eight remaining supreme court justices are scheduled to return from a break next week. they are facing a docket filled with controversial issues including abortion, discrepan contraception, unions, voting rights, affirmative action. scalia's death means the court no longer has a tie-breaking court. if the eight remaining justices are split on a decision that means the lower-court ruling will stand. >> the chief justice could also decide to put some of those cases that would be 4-4 cases over and have them reargued, presumably after there's a replacement for justice scalia in place. >> reporter: justice scalia's body was returned to virginia in the early hours of this morning. for now his body remains at this funeral home. no plans announced yet about his ultimate resting place.
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♪ >> reporter: from adele's epic "all i ask" to demi lovato's "well hello." ♪ hello is it me you're looking for ♪ >> reporter: from triftaylor sws "are we out of the woods yet." to the multi-cultural wonders from this opener from the broadway musical "hamilton." ♪ in new york you can be a new man ♪ >> reporter: by luck or design tonight's 58th annual grammy awards came at a moment when music sits proudly at the head of the culture table. thanks to beyonce's formation video. and subsequent super bowl halftime performance. steeped in black lives matter imagery and substance. and kanye west's by every means possible rollout for his newest release "the life of pablo" featuring a madison square garden fashion show. a "saturday night live"
performance. and a ez-esque tweet-storm. up to the second potential of popular song, much on the minds of those there. ♪ and when i wake up i recognize you're looking ♪ >> reporter: so many of them fans of the rapper kendrick lamar. >> whether he takes a trophy home or not, which i'm pretty sure he will, it's a win for him regardless. >> i love the fact that that's what he's doing, he's promoting positive values. and encouraging unity. bringing people together. >> it's not often that you get to hear an artist this authentic and this complete in his vision. >> and he's due. >> definitely due, i hope he wins evidently. >> reporter: beloved from the streets to the oval office. jumping off from his "all right" video with a galvanizing performance. and winning five gram meals. including best rap album. ♪ everything i know coming heavy ♪ >> thinking of love! >> reporter: t. swizzle cheering
along ed sheeran won best song as what looms for a generation-defining track "thinking out loud." >> if you had told an 11-year-old, 5-year-old, any age that i would have received an award from stevie wonder, i would be in shock. thank you very much. >> reporter: the pop unicorn herself sporting a banged-up bob, picking up album of the year for "1989." serving up an empowerment speech that featured shade thrown at 100 miles an hour in the direction of kanye west whose new record declares, i made that famous. heroes of the past. ♪ don't say maybe >> reporter: eagles reuniting weeks after the passing of front man glenn frey playing "take it easy" with jackson browne in frey's stead. lady gaga who tattooed her torso shown on snapchat, the carpet buzzing in anticipation. >> why is she the right person to honor a guy like bowie?
>> you can just tell that she is such a big fan. like it's so present in all her work. you know you tell she lives and breathes it. >> did he give you a way of looking at the world that was difference for you? >> his ins influenza is in almost everything i've ever done. >> reporter: technology allowing gaga to manipulate the colors and images upon her face. ♪ commencing countdown engines on ♪ >> reporter: bonnie raitt, long a friend and colleague of the late bb king, bluesing it up with chris stapleton. >> chris stapleton asked for me specifically to be part of this. knowing i was good friends with b it was nice. i just have to not turn around and see those photos, it will make me too sad. >> reporter: old school sound via this hitmaker earned the best new artist grammy for meghan trainor. though this tribute to hard rock legend lenny from motor head offered an unexpected new front man in johnny depp.
>> what's it going to be like to look at 15 rows of well-known musicians while you're singing? >> i won't be looking. my head will be straight down. yeah, no, i can't. i can't look. i'd drop dead. >> reporter: the entire night a showcase for superstars who have thrived amid the seismic changes in the music business, in the age of digital and streaming. >> adele is a fascinating star. you've got these deep and dark and sort of lonely songs and she's so funny. and she's a very, very likeable character. >> reporter: and a good thing too. late reports and tweets commenting on technical issues at the top of her performance. long-time "american idol" producer nigel lythgoe tweeting, did adele show she is human? was the television sharp? rihanna took to twitter to explain her last-minute decision to cancel her performance telling fans, so sorry i couldn't unbe there, a statement
saying she'd been put on vocal rest for an infection. what's not canceled the daytime and nighttime drama between taylor and kanye. one long-running show to which anyone can buy a ticket. one that figures to play itself out here in the days to come. >> keeping up with kanye west can be a full-time job, especially when heat in overdrive mode like he's been lately. i've heard the album, i think it's great. >> reporter: for "nightline" i'm chris connelly in los angeles. next here, remembering an often-underappreciated part of supreme court justice antonin scalia, his sense of humor. the guy was really funny. ♪
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and finally tonight, supreme court justice antonin scalia who died over the weekend may have been best known for his fiery positions on hot-button issues. but he was also damn funny. abc's terry moran covers the court for us. >> reporter: in so many of the pick does of justice antonin scalia, he's laughing. he was a naturally funny man. listen to him tell cnn in 2012 the secret of his marriage of more than 50 years. >> maureen made it very clear early on that if we split up, i would get the children. >> reporter: scalia looked at life with a wry smile and a ready quip. and often his quips had a point. a sharp point. for instance, when the court upheld obamacare for the second time last year, scalia barbed his quip with scorn. we really should start calling this law scotuscare, when he
wrote in his dissent. when he was asked about the bush versus gore decision that awarded the presidency to george w. bush -- >> preserve, protect, defend the constitution of the united states so help me god. >> reporter: scalia delivers a dismissive shock like this on "60 my opinions" -- >> we did the right thing, so there. get over it, it's old by now. >> reporter: scalia's sense of humor stemmed from a mind never at rest. he loved word play as when he called the majority's reasoning in the 2013 defense of marriage act case legalistic argle-bargle and slammed the decision on the affordable care act jiggery pokery. or this -- >> how can the federal government establish a state exchange? that is gobbledygook. >> reporter: in cases big and small, during oral arguments, he loved to get a laugh. one academic study finding him the funniest justice with 1.027 laughing episodes per argument.
>> okay, you can't refuse your money or your life. but your life or your life's? i could refuse that one. >> reporter: there was a warmth in the middle of scalia's humor for all his combativeness. he had a gift for friendship. most famously with justice ruth bader ginsburg. >> we agree on a whole lot of stuff. >> we do. >> ruth is bad only on the knee-jerk stuff. >> reporter: when one of his many grand daughters graduated from high school in 2015, scalia offered advice -- >> never compromise your principles unless, of course, your principles are adolf hitler's. in which case you would be well advised to compromise them as much as you can. >> reporter: a funny man. the court and the country will be a duller place without him. for "nightline" i'm terry moran in washington. >> another side of a giant of the bench. thank you, terry moran, for that report. thank you for watching tonight. tune into gma first thing in the