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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin reportedly died in his sleep overnight while on a hunting trip at a resort ranch near the town of Marfa, Texas. (Photo: US Supreme Court)

Resisting Tradition of False Praise, Critics Remember Antonin Scalia (1936-2016)

Found dead on Saturday, the longest-serving Justice on the current court was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986 and was known as one of its most right-wing and regressive voices

Jon Queally

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead on Saturday, reportedly of natural causes, at a high-end resort in Texas.

Citing an "El Paso source close Scalia," local affiliate ABC 7 reported "that the 79-year-old died in his sleep last night after a day of quail hunting at Cibolo Creek Ranch outside of Marfa, Texas."

Subsequently, Texas Governor Greg Abbott released a statement confirming Scalia's death.

Scalia—the longest-serving Justice on the current court was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986—was known as one of its most right-wing and regressive voices.

Though much of the mainstream media immediately dove into the praising Scalia's notable accomplishments, a number of his critics took to social media in order to ensure the numerous destructive aspects of his legal legacy—despite the predictable calls that such discussions are somehow impolite—were not locked out of the discussion.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

According to a report, Scalia arrived at the ranch on Friday and attended a private party with about 40 people. When he did not appear for breakfast, a person associated with the ranch went to his room and found a body.

Chief U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia, of the Western Judicial District of Texas, was notified about the death from the U.S. Marshals Service.

U.S. District Judge Fred Biery said he was among those notified about Scalia's death.

"I was told it was this morning," Biery said of Scalia's death. "It happened on a ranch out near Marfa. As far as the details, I think it's pretty vague right now as to how," he said. "My reaction is it's very unfortunate. It's unfortunate with any death, and politically in the presidential cycle we're in, my educated guess is nothing will happen before the next president is elected."

The U.S. Marshal Service, the Presidio County sheriff and the FBI were involved in the investigation. Officials with the law enforcement agencies declined to comment.

A federal official who asked not to be named said there was no evidence of foul play and it appeared that Scalia died of natural causes.

Though much of the mainstream press was quickly lining up on Saturday to offer glowing commemorations of his career as a public servant, many on Twitter wanted to be sure that his destructive judicial legacy was not completely whitewashed. At the same time, others began taking stock of the political implications of the now vacant seat on the nation's highest court:


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