UPDATE BY THE WASHINGTON POST — “THE DEATH OF ANTONIN SCALIA: CHAOS, CONFUSION AND CONFLICTING REPORTS”
Inside the cloistered chambers of the Supreme Court, Justice Antonin Scalia’s days were highly regulated and predictable. He met with clerks, wrote opinions and appeared for arguments in the august courtroom on a schedule set months in advance.
Yet as details of his sudden death trickled in Sunday, it appeared that the hours afterward were anything but orderly. The man known for his elegant legal opinions and profound intellect was found dead in his room at a hunting resort by a ranch owner.
It then took hours for authorities in remote West Texas to find a justice of the peace, officials said Sunday. When they did, she [a liberal, Democrat Judge] pronounced Scalia dead of natural causes without seeing the body and decided not to order an autopsy. A second justice of the peace, who was called but couldn’t get to Scalia’s body in time, said she would have ordered an autopsy.
“He was having health issues,’’ Guevara said, adding that she is awaiting a statement from Scalia’s doctor that will be added to his death certificate when it is issued later this week.
Guevara also rebutted a report by a Dallas TV station that quoted her as saying that Scalia had died of “myocardial infarction.” In an interview with The Washington Post, she said she meant only that his heart had stopped.
“It wasn’t a heart attack,” Guevara said. “He died of natural causes.”
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the leading conservative voice on the high court, has died at the age of 79, a government source and a family friend told CNN on Saturday.
His death set off an immediate debate about whether President Barack Obama should fill the seat in an election year. Obama said Saturday night that he plans to nominate a replacement, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the nomination should wait until the next president comes into office while top Democrat Harry Reid called for the seat to be filled “right away.”
Scalia died in his sleep during a visit to Texas. A government official said Scalia went to bed Friday night and told friends he wasn’t feeling well. He didn’t get up for breakfast on Saturday morning, and the group he was with for a hunting trip left without him.
Someone at the ranch went in to check on him and found him unresponsive.
The U.S. Marshals Service is helping to arrange for his body to be returned to his home in McLean, Virginia, an official told CNN, not to investigate his death.
There will be no autopsy performed, a source familiar with the case confirmed to CNN. The decision for no autopsy was made both by the family and the Texas Justice of the Peace, the source said.
Marshals were not at the resort in Texas where he died, but were called there after the fact, a law enforcement source told CNN. Marshals help supplement security for traveling justices.