Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

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:


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

Democrats Demand Amazon and Facebook End Efforts to 'Sideline' FTC Chair Lina Khan

"Your efforts only add to the perception that you are attempting to bully your regulators, disarm the FTC, and avoid accountability rather than to strengthen ethics standards."

Jessica Corbett ·


Amnesty Follows House Dems' Letter by Imploring Biden to Close Gitmo 'Once and for All'

"This letter, signed by four House committee chairs, should send a clear message to President Biden: He has the political support to swiftly close the detention center at Guantánamo."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Truly Disturbing': Facebook Blasted for Blocking NYU Researchers Examining Ad Model and Misinformation

"It is disgraceful that Facebook is attempting to squash legitimate research that is informing the public about disinformation on their platform."

Jessica Corbett ·


After Decades-Long Grassroots Push, Key Senate Panel Votes to Repeal Iraq War Authorization

Rep. Barbara Lee, the only member of the U.S. House to vote against the AUMF in 2001, called the vote "a major victory in our fight to end forever wars."

Julia Conley ·


Mexico Files Historic Lawsuit Against US Gun Companies Fueling Cartel Carnage

The first-of-its-kind suit alleges U.S. weapons firms "design, market, distribute, and sell guns in ways they know routinely arm the drug cartels in Mexico."

Brett Wilkins ·