The owner of the ranch where Senior Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, 79, was found dead Saturday morning shared the details of the judge’s appearance and the events surrounding his death.
John Poindexter, the owner of the Cibolo Creek Ranch, a 30,000-acre luxury ranch in the Big Bend region south of Marfa, Texas, told the San Antonio Express-News that he and a friend of Scalia’s entered the judge’s room three hours after he did not show up at a breakfast meeting at 8:30 a.m.
“We discovered the judge in bed, a pillow over his head. His bed clothes were unwrinkled,” Poindexter said.
The ranch owner said Scalia had retired to his room around 9 p.m. Friday night, after attending a dinner party with about 40 other guests. Poindexter said that when he found Scalia Saturday morning, he was “lying very restfully,” and “looked like he had not quite awakened from a nap.”
Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevara told ABC News that Scalia’s death certificate “will say the cause of death was natural, and that he died of a heart attack.” Guevara also said that “no autopsy was necessary.”
As previously reported, Scalia was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Reagan in 1986, and was the longest-serving current justice.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) released a statement Saturday saying he thinks Obama “can and should send the Senate a nominee right away.”
“With so many important issues pending before the Supreme Court, the Senate has a responsibility to fill vacancies as soon as possible,” Reid said. “It would be unprecedented in recent history for the Supreme Court to go a year with a vacant seat.”
President Obama said he would nominate a successor in due time. “I plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibility to nomination a successor in due time,” He said, while traveling in Rancho Mirage, California.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he thinks the next administration should make the appointment to replace Scalia, in hopes that the next president is a Republican.
“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice,” McConnell said. “Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”