A local official’s quick determination that a staunch opponent on the U.S. Supreme Court of the progressive social agenda died of “natural causes” and there would be no autopsy even though a pillow was found over his head has prompted a multitude of conspiracy theories along with a political firestorm.
The stakes are high in the aftermath of the weekend death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, as President Obama has signaled his intention to nominate a replacement and possibly move the court decidedly to the left for decades to come.
“Was [Scalia] murdered?” Savage asked his listeners. “We need a Warren Commission-like federal investigation.”
At the Dallas Observer, Joe Pappalardo reported rumors that Scalia was gassed, smothered or poisoned.
“Scalia was not a young man. He was 79 years old and friends at the West Texas ranch where he died say he went to bed early because he didn’t feel well,” he wrote. “There are many natural causes of death that could be responsible. A heart attack seems to be the most probable cause, and local media are reporting that his death certificate will read ‘myocardial infarction.’ Other media reports say the cause will be deemed natural. Either way, no official is suggesting homicide.”
However, he said, “Let’s not let that stop us from conjecture.”
Pappalardo said the report that a pillow was found over Scalia’s head raises a number of questions.
“So could someone have entered his room and used that pillow to asphyxiate him? This method only really works with really old or young people, or those already unconscious. There are usually telltale signs of these murders — not only will most victims struggle, leaving signs of the fight behind, but the suffocation takes up to 5 minutes and the body shows this with hemorrhages under the skin. But there’s a catch: Sometimes the suffocation triggers a heart attack, leaving the corpse without many of the signs of a homicide,” he wrote.
‘Good way to kill people without getting caught’
Poisoning, he said, is “a good way to kill people without getting caught,” and he cited a hypothetical conversation at the White House:
“‘Well,’ the killer would respond, ‘I’m a trained nurse and I’m a big fan of this muscle relaxant called succinylcholine. It’s the stuff we inject into patients when we want to jam breathing tubes down their throats while they’re still awake. But get this: In high enough doses, it paralyses people so they can’t breath. Most autopsies show this as a heart attack. It’s brilliant.’ The White House aide smiles. ‘Then let’s take out that SOB.'”
Wrote Pappalardo: “Sound far-fetched? Well, sure. But a similar scheme killed Nevada State Controller Kathy Augustine when her husband injected her with succinylcholine. The hubby was nabbed when coworkers reported that he was pondering ways to kill her, and looked more closely at her body. They found a small needle mark.”
Gassing also could have been used, he wrote, although it’s less likely since there usually are telltale signs.
“It’s unlikely that such clues would be ignored by an M.E.,” he wrote.
“Then again, Scalia’s family was insistent on not performing an autopsy. That alone will keep this theory – and many, many others – in people’s minds for a long time,” he noted.
At Conservative Outfitters, in an unscientific online poll, nearly 80 percent of the more than 45,000 respondents said they suspected foul play in Scalia’s death.
One commenter on the site, PK Mitchell, said, “Only because they are rushing to embalm him and put him in the ground even though there are questions about his death, found with a pillow over his face.”
Another, Banjal, said: “No autopsy done. No qualified medical profession[al] announced him dead.”
WND reported on questions raised by the immediate declaration that the death was due to “natural causes.”
Houston businessman John Poindexter, who owns the Texas ranch where Scalia was visiting, confirmed there was a pillow over Scalia’s head.
He said he contacted authorities.
But the Washington Post said it was hours before authorities could find a justice of the peace.
When they did, she pronounced Scalia dead of natural causes without seeing the body and decided against an autopsy.
The body then was embalmed, which precludes any possibility of testing for any evidence of foul play.
The blog Heavy.com posed five key questions that remain unanswered.
First was why was there a pillow found over his head.
“We discovered the judge in bed, a pillow over his head,” Poindexter said.
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The blog raised a second question: Why was his cause of death decided over the phone?
“Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevara was reached by phone [and] said she was assured by police there were no signs of foul play,” the blog post said. She then “made the declaration without seeing the body.”
And No. 3, why was there no autopsy?
‘Why would we not question?’
Radio host Alex Jones posted a video on his InfoWars.com website asking why officials determined the cause of death so quickly.
“Maybe he did die of natural causes. But then they tell you right away, ‘no foul play,’ don’t investigate, nothing to see here, that’s a big tell-tale sign,” Jones said. “Why would we not question, why would we not at least say, ‘There will be an investigation, and the coroner should let us know in a few weeks’? Because in any other death, they always say, ‘It takes a few weeks.'”
Heavy.com cited the suggestion that Obama was behind the death.
“The theory is that Obama had Scalia killed so that he could fill his Supreme Court seat before he leaves office, though it appears it will not be easy for him to do that as the GOP-controlled House and Senate seem prepared to challenge any nomination,” the blog said.
The No. 5 theory was that the Bush family was behind the death because of something Scalia knew about them regarding 9/11.
Commentator Paul Joseph Watson cited a report that Obama, who apparently was told of Scalia’s death hours before the public announcement, was “thrilled” to be “relevant once again.”
“If accurate, the report will feed suspicions that foul play may have been involved,” he wrote.
Online commentator Neal Boortz warned, “With no Scalia autopsy the conspiracy theorists are going to be orgasmic for decades. Whose decision was this anyway?”
Ray Starmann, who served as an army intelligence officer in Germany during the last days of the Cold War and is also a veteran of the Gulf War, said, “The circumstances surrounding Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia’s death are growing more suspicious by the minute.
Political commentator Liz Cheney, the elder daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, said Scalia “was an American hero, one of the greatest Supreme Ct Justices in history. Our thoughts and prayers are with his dear family.”
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., called him a “defender of the Constitution.”
Scalia’s death immediately invalidated his votes in any Supreme Court cases that have not been announced.
Since he was on the conservative end of the court spectrum, even if swing-vote Justice Kennedy leans right in upcoming cases, votes could end up 4-4, meaning a lower-court opinion would stand.
Pending is a Texas case on abortion in which the state wants the abortionists to have access to emergency medical services. Abortion activists oppose it.
There’s a Texas case on affirmative-action and another on redistricting.
A union case challenges whether unions can require teachers to fund the union’s political language, especially when the teachers disagree with the message.
A case on Obamacare will determine whether or not Christian employers can be forced to provide abortion-pill coverage for their employees, even if it violates their religious beliefs.
Democrats were arguing Monday that it is Obama’s responsibility to nominate a replacement and indicated the Senate should act on his nomination. However, reported Mic.com, several members of the Senate Judiciary Committee said they would not take up a nomination by Obama.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said, “We owe it to him, and the nation, for the Senate to ensure that the next president names his replacement.”
It’s also been suggested that Obama could make a recess appointment.
No matter who might be picked, said Robert Knight, a senior fellow with the American Civil Rights Union, he or she likely would not match Scalia.
The 79-year-old conservative jurist’s sharp intellect, integrity, humor, and uncompromising application of the Constitution were unmatched in recent years.
He truly was the conscience of the Court when it came to explicating Original Intent, that is, what America’s Founders intended the Constitution to mean as well as those who lawfully amended it.
Often, he wrote searing dissents, reminding his colleagues that the Constitution itself has intrinsic meaning that is not hard to discern.
For those wearied by convoluted logic and outright dishonesty at the heart of rulings based on the ever-flexible “Living Constitution,” Justice Scalia’s commentaries are like a fountain of cool water in a desert.
His finely crafted dissents are not just good reading, however; they provide a well-marked road map for future jurists to get back to constitutionality.
Apart from his consistently excellent questioning and writing, Justice Scalia earned the friendship and respect of colleagues who disagreed with him about anything truly important. Arguably President Reagan’s finest appointment, Justice Scalia exuded humility and likeability. Even while he took no prisoners when writing in deep disagreement, he showed affection and respect for his colleagues, which was mutual.
During a speech to the Knights of Columbus in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 2005, Justice Scalia gave insight into what he regarded as the big picture, even beyond constitutional jurisprudence.
“God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools … and he has not been disappointed…,” Scalia said. “Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity,” he added. “Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world.”
Scalia was visiting Texas millionaire Poindexter’s ranch at the time of his death.
Poindexter said nothing seemed out of order for Scalia when he arrived, during dinner, and then when he departed for bed.
A Los Angeles Times report said Poindexter contributed to the Democratic Party, a Democratic political action committee and several Texas Democrats.