Conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died on Feb. 13, 2016, will lie in state on Friday, Feb. 19, 2016 at the U.S. Supreme Court, where following tradition, his chair and bench at the high court will be draped with black wool crepe.
Scalia’s funeral will be held on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016 at the largest Catholic church in North America, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. President Obama and wife Michelle will pay their respects to Scalia on Friday at the Supreme Court, but will not be attending Saturday’s funeral. Vice President Joe Biden will attend the Saturday service. It is not known at this time whether Scalia’s son, Paul Scalia, a Roman Catholic priest will be the mass celebrant for his father’s services.
People Are Talking – Almost Non-Stop – Since Scalia’s Death Announced
In the five days since Antonin Scalia’s death on Feb. 13, 2016 at a private ranch in Texas, the media and politicians have been abuzz with conspiracy theories about the Justice’s death and whether or not the sitting president should name the jurist’s successor. Scalia was no stranger to controversy during his Supreme Court tenure, being one of the most provocative figures of the current bench.
Scalia had been invited to the Cibolo Creek Ranch in Marfa, Texas, owned by businessman John Poindexter for a weekend of relaxation and hunting. Poindexter, who found Scalia deceased in his bed on Saturday morning after Scalia had missed breakfast and an outing scheduled for that morning, described what he saw when he entered the justice’s bedroom, “We discovered the judge in bed, a pillow over his head. His bed clothes were unwrinkled.” (NewYorker.com)
Poindexter’s wording, which he later explained was meant to describe a man who looked as if he had not quite awakened from a nap, rather than what some took to mean a “pillow over his face.” Here again Poindexter clarified his meaning – the pillow was not over Scalia’s face – “over his head” meant the pillow was against the headboard and over top of Scalia’s head when he was found.
Scalia’s death was ruled to be due to natural causes by county judge Cinderela Guevara after conferring with law enforcement personnel at the scene and Scalia’s personal physician by phone. Scalia’s family had no wish for an autopsy to be performed, and although Guevara could have ordered that an autopsy be done, Scalia’s medical history and conditions provided what Guevera and Scalia’s physician found to be sufficient cause of death.
To Appoint or Not to Appoint a Successor to Scalia’s Seat – or Wait Nearly a Year for a New President to Take Office
A full U.S. Supreme Court has nine justices in total, one of whom is the Chief Justice. With Scalia’s absence the court has eight remaining justices, evenly divided in ideology between conservative and liberal. Scalia was the most conservative judge sitting in the current high court, giving the conservative side five judges to the liberal side’s four.
Naming Scalia’s replacement has implications for both sides of the aisle – depending on whether a moderate, a liberal or a conservative-leaning appointee is named. It is the potential implications of such a choice that have tongues wagging in Washington, D.C. and throughout the United States.
As reported previously in The Daily Voice News, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) emphatically stated on the day of Scalia’s death that the Senate would not be amenable to even considering anyone nominated by President Obama to fill the vacant seat.
Later in the week, President Obama revealed his thoughts on the topic of Scalia’s replacement, pointing out that the Constitution requires him to fulfill his obligation of nominating such a replacement, while it is the Senate’s obligation to look into such a nomination and determining whether to accept or reject that person, not to obstruct the process altogether.
Today, retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, an appointee of President Ronald Reagan, voiced her opinion that the process of replacing the vacant high court seat needs to move forward, disagreeing with many of the Republican presidential candidates who’ve voiced their opinions and Republicans in office.
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