Sen. Bernie Sanders had a measure of praise for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Sunday, calling him a "brilliant man," even though the two disagreed on most issues.

"Clearly he was a brilliant man, a very colorful man, a very outspoken man," Sanders, a Democratic presidential candidate, said during an interview on Fox News Sunday.

"I happen to respect people who are willing to come under public scrutiny and serve their country," Sanders said.

"He and I had very different points of view, but I respect people who are willing to serve their country."

Scalia, a conservative firebrand on the court, died unexpectedly Saturday at a West Texas ranch. The vacancy he leaves on the bench has triggered an immediate political conflict, with Republicans calling for the Senate not to confirm a nominee before President Obama leaves office.

Sanders and Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton have criticized Republicans for threatening to block an Obama nominee.

"I think we want a full contingent on the United States Supreme Court," Sanders said on Fox. "We are dealing with enormously important issues, and the Constitution is pretty clear."