Conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia was found dead at the Cibolo Creek Ranch south of Marfa, Texas on Saturday February 13th. There has been some confusion regarding the decisions made following to the 79 year old’s death as Presidio County Judge Cinderella Guevara pronounced Scalia dead of natural causes without seeing the body - which is permissible under Texas law- and without ordering an autopsy. His body was taken to an El Paso funeral home where Scalia’s body was taken and made it clear that his family did not want an autopsy done. One of two other officials, Juanita Bishop, who were called but couldn’t get to Scalia’s body in time said that she would have made a different decision on the autopsy.
Guevara however spoke to law enforcement by phone and was assured there were “no signs of foul play,” and told The Washington Post that “[Scalia] died of natural causes.”
John Pointdexter, the owner of the Cibolo Creek Ranch, had invited Scalia and 40 other unnamed guests to hunt blue quail. When he did not show up to breakfast Saturday morning after a day of hunting, Pointdexter grew concerned and went to look for him in his room where he found Scalias body, “Everything was in perfect order. He was in his pajamas, peacefully in bed,” Pointdexter said.
Scalia’s death comes at a critical time with the pending presidential election and has far-reaching implications for the Supreme Court and a round of major cases the justices are set to decide this summer, including Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, which challenges the university's affirmative action policy, plus a case that contests Obama's immigration policy and another that reexamines the meaning of "one person, one vote," said former U.S. Rep. Charlie Gonzalez.
Republicans are promising to reject any Obama Supreme Court pick, as presidential candidates like Ted Cruz are vowing to stand in the way of Obama’s appointment and once elected nominate a conservative as Scalia's replacement. These statements leave an uncertain future for both the Senate and the White House while adding yet another race to the current political waters as Obama scurries to not only nominate a replacement, but to ensure that they will not be replaced once his term is completed.
Funeral arrangements for the devout Catholic have not currently been announced.