Of course, I am referring to the recent death Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
This is the story of his death, in brief, as we know it today. Antonin Scalia had flown to a private ranch in Texas, on a chartered plane with a friend (unidentified) who paid for the plane. He was to stay at the ranch to do some quail hunting. Apparently, Scalia liked hunting. In fact, retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor reportedly said--take Scalia hunting, and he'll do anything for you.
The day of his arrival he was tired--having just returned to the U.S. after an overseas trip. He joined the other guests for dinner, and then retired early. The next morning he didn't come to breakfast, and after a time, the host went to find out why. That is when Scalia was found dead, on his bed, in his pajamas lying in complete repose (according to the host). Now, since Scalia was dead, someone had to make that official pronouncement. So, a local county judge was called, but was too busy to come. SO another county judge was called, who first talked to law enforcement authorities, and then she pronounced him dead. No autopsy, no careful review of the room where this death occurred (in fact, there was a photo of the room complete with rumpled sheets on Washington Post).
Well, what a curious story.
But it gets curious-er. And questions pop up all over the place, like popcorn on a grill.
Why no security for Scalia? Answer--he had dismissed or eschewed his usual security (provided to all Supreme Court justices by the U.S. Marshall Service).
Why no on-site review of the scene by someone in authority? Answer--well, it was the weekend and it was difficult to get anyone to the ranch. But the people on-site gave a description to the authorities, Oh, that's good enough for me (though I doubt it would pass muster in NCIS).
How did Scalia appear when he was found? Answer--according to John Poindexter, owner of Cibolo Creek Ranch, who found Scalia's body, "we discovered the judge in bed, a pillow over his head. His bedclothes were unwrinkled. He was lying very peacefully."
Who was Scalia with? Answer--um, a friend. But if that friend's name has been revealed, I have yet to read it.
Who paid for the trip? Answer--um, a friend. Not Poindexter, the owner of the ranch who normally paid for all his guests who visit but not for Scalia. Oh, and the cost for one person--about $550 including meals.
Would Scalia have had to disclose such a gift? Um--no.
Why no autopsy? Answer--ah, now we get to it. Because the county judge who made the death pronouncement (remember, without seeing the body) decided there was no need. And when Scalia's body was taken to the funeral home, the people there insisted Scalia's family did not want an autopsy.
Oh, people, people, people--I could go on.
But I think I'll just head off to begin writing my Shakespearean tragedy. About a mysterious death. About a death that seems to be one thing but might just be another...who knows? About a ghost that will haunt us with all these poorly answered questions.
Nah--that's been done. It's called Hamlet. And just remember, there really was something rotten in the state of Denmark.
Visit the Washington Post where articles such as this one are revealing more and more fascinating details.
Photo from Washington Post.
Want to see what Cibolo Creek Ranch looks life--just Google images for Cibolo Creek Ranch.