Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Died of “Natural Causes”

By Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Thanks to fairy-tale Judge Cinderela Guevara from Presidio County, Texas, the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is ripe for the growth of conspiracy theories. In fact, it doesn’t get much better than this. Judge Cinderela must seriously go down in history as the laziest public official ever to have lived on the Texas subcontinent.

The tale of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death started when Cinderela received a call notifying her that the Supreme Court justice had died. Even though Antonin Scalia was a judge on the highest bench in the land, who undoubtedly had potent enemies due to his conservative stances against President Obama, it apparently never dawned on Cinderela that it might be worth her time to take a little side trip from her current trek in order check out the judge’s death a few miles away.

When notified that one of the highest officials in the land had died unexpectedly of unknown cause, she deferred to a Texas law that allows a judge to determine the cause of death by phone. Had this been the death of a little old lady in a nursing home, who had been suffering pneumonia, that lazy determination might have made sense in saving the judge some time. I would imagine such calls are why the phone provision exists. The fact, however, that such a determination is allowed by Texas law, does not by any means indicate that the death of a Supreme Court justice is the right application of said provision.

Even if Cinderela had her head far enough up her car’s exhaust pipe to feel the engine’s valves tapping her on the nose, she should have the presence of mind to know that the completely unexpected death of a US Supreme Court justice, known to be a bit at odds with the president of the United States, MIGHT be something where you’d actually want to check the facts out first hand so as to be an official witness to the scene of the death. Jar Jar Binx could have made a better call in a drunken stupor.

I should make a side note here that The Dallas Observer reserves the exhaust pipe excuse for Judge Antonin Scalia, speculating that someone may have found a way to get carbon monoxide into his room, even though no one who saw the body reported any of the signs that go along with death by carbon monoxide. Ah well, who needs evidence in order to support a good conspiracy theory in a vacuum of facts? It only matters that it is not outside the realm of possibility, and sometimes even that doesn’t matter, as you’ll see.

I’m not sure if Her Honor Cinderela was on her way to a vital hair appointment or to get her feet filed, but for some reason it was too much of a bother for her verify first hand the death scene of a highly controversial, top-level, government official. I’m just guessing — based on the obvious fact that this phone call was about a man who usually would travel with a Secret Service security detail, which was missing that day — that something demanded Judge Cinderela’s immediate attention. Perhaps the car she was driving when she got the call was only minutes from turning back into a pumpkin. All of those perfectly good reasons for her choice not to go to the scene, however, don’t explain why Judgerela also decided not to order an autopsy.

The Washington Post says that another Presidio County judge — Juanita Bishop — said she would have demanded an autopsy because, if it had been her, she would “want to know.” Bishop further added that “they said he [Scalia] was good one minute and the next minute he’s dead,” as if that might spark a person’s curiosity about the sudden ill turn of events. (Judge Bishop had already been called to other official duties at the time, or she would have been the one to officially declare this death.)

I, too, would think that might be enough that you’d “want to know.” Might be worth the effort just to take a peak when you know your response will be in the national headlines for months to come, maybe even hold a mirror up to his nose before sending him to the crematorium, to which he was rather quickly sped.

Without any autopsy or seeing the body, Judgerela declared,


It wasn’t a heart attack… He died of natural causes.


That’s a curiously brilliant statement in itself, as I thought a heart attack was a natural cause of death. The odd contrast brings to question Judgerela’s overall capacity to analyze situations. It’s kind of like saying, “She didn’t die from drowning. She died from sudden inhalation of water while beneath it.”

Cinderela based her judgment upon the word of the US Marshal who was at the site and said he saw no sign of foul play, but a former head of criminal investigations for the Washington, DC, police department, William Ritchie, has serious doubts about that as the sole basis for judgment:


As a former homicide commander, I am stunned that no autopsy was ordered for Justice Scalia. How can the Marshal say, without a thorough post mortem, that he was not injected with an illegal substance that would simulate a heart attack…

Did the US Marshal check for petechial hemorrhage in his eyes or under his lips that would have suggested suffocation? Did the US Marshal smell his breath for any unusual odor that might suggest poisoning? My gut tells me there is something fishy going on in Texas. (The Washington Post)


We’ll never know because His Honor Antonin Scalia was cremated before his body cooled.


Judge Cinderela’s less than snow-white past


Apparently, Judgerela was already locally renowned for her powers of carrying out her own forensics remotely as this is not her first controversial call in refusing to order an autopsy and declaring the cause of death. According to details provided about another case in Marfa, Texas, where Scalia died, Judgerela does not need to be bothered with such trifles because her investigations into the cause of death are led by God.

In the case of a young woman found dead on the railroad tracks, Union Pacific Railroad was willing to pay for an autopsy to see if the woman killed herself by lying down on the railroad tracks or was killed first and then left on the tracks to be run over. Cinderela decided a full autopsy would be superfluous. The deceased’s mother later reported that she questioned how Judge Cinderela Guevara determined the death was suicide by train and not murder as the mother believed:


When she was alone with me, Ms. Guevara asked about my religious beliefs several times. We spoke about the Catholic faith and on September 3, 2013, when I met with her, she told me that she had prayed to God for an answer as to whether it was suicide or not and asked God to give her an answer in the video. She said she did not receive an answer as to that, but she did receive an answer from God. She stated to me that God told her that, yes this was a tragedy, but the true tragedy was that Melaney had died without accepting Jesus Christ as her savior….

I wondered if she thought God had punished me because I had left the Catholic faith and failed to bring up my children as Catholics. This was the woman who was deciding the cause of death of my daughter. Was she willing to consider any investigation of a homicide if she believed I was being punished by God? (The Daily Kos)


Apparently, fairy-tale judges don’t need to investigate these things because all they have to to do is drop a line to God and ask. I have no problem with her asking and then conducting an investigation to do her own due diligence, but apparently Judgerela doesn’t even need to get an answer from God. She did her part by just asking. No answer came, so she concluded no investigation was necessary. She concluded the death was from natural causes or suicide (it being perfectly natural to die if you kill yourself), not that the motionless daughter was left for dead on the tracks in an act of foul play.

Never mind that the railroad had a video of the accident that the judge had already watched, which showed the beautiful young woman already lying on the tracks and appearing to be either unconscious or dead because she was completely motionless. (It’s hard to imagine with the train thundering toward your neck, you wouldn’t squirm or wince a little.) The massive Union Pacific Railroad corporation even pleaded with Judge Cinderela to open a homicide investigation, but she refused, insisting on her suicide verdict.

Never mind also that the young suicide victim had been seen less than half an hour before flirting and dancing with your husband to whom she had only been married two months. They met and married in Marfa, and she considered him her soulmate. She recently had been talking about her future plans and about how thrilled she was over her new project of illustrating a new novel. She left the bar to go home and told her husband to join her in half an hour, as he staid to help the band put away instruments. Seems like someone who would decide on the walk home to lie down casually on the railroad tracks and not flinch as the train ran over her head.

The fuller truth be known, in fairness, this young woman had been known to flirt with suicide by train in the past and struggled with clinical depression for which she was supposedly taking medication. The story above, told by “Singing Lizard,” gets more bizarre the more you read it, so there may be something in the judge’s defense on that one, but Cinderela’s own comments are bizarre enough, if Lizard Mom’s recounting of them is accurate.


Death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia gets major injection of conspiracy juice!


Just as all of that was already begging for solid conspiracy coverage, along comes Judge Scalia’s host at Cibolo Creek Ranch where Scalia was staying to inadvertently and sloppily add a heaping helping of conspiracy glop onto this delicious dish. In attempting to describe Judge Scalia’s death, John Poindexter pointed out, as everyone has now heard, that a pillow was found “over his head.”


We discovered the judge in bed, a pillow over his head. His bed clothes were unwrinkled. He was lying very restfully. It looked like he had not quite awakened from a nap. (San Antonia Express-News)


This added whole new meaning to Judge Cinderela’s determination that that Judge Antonin Scalia died “of natural causes.” Apparently, “of natural causes” means that the pillow used to suffocated the poor Supreme Court justice was made of down. It was not a synthetic pillow that caused the seventy-nine-year-old judge’s untimely demise, it was a natural pillow. The judge was downed by a down pillow.

Then there was the timing of the judge’s death that might have caused another judge of Cinderela’s low rank to order an investigation. Justice Scalia died with a pillow over his head less than a week after he made a landmark ruling against Presiden’t Obama’s legacy plans and just ahead of a major ruling on abortion.


The true scene of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death


I have been waiting to write on this for a little more information to come out, and I now have that information. I suspected from the beginning that Poindexter may have simply not chosen his words well. If one looked at his original description of the death scene, the full context makes it fairly clear to me that he intended to describe a peaceful and natural scene:

The judge was lying on his bed in night clothes that were barely even rumpled. The bed sheets were barely wrinkled. So, it appeared as if the bed had not been slept in and as if there had been no struggle at all. His head was not even on his pillow. The judge had probably flopped back on the bed, exhausted after putting on his pajamas. The look on his face was peaceful, as if perhaps his heart just stopped pumping and he slipped into unsciousness and died. Oh, his pillow was over his face.

No, the last bit clearly doesn’t fit the peaceful scene described. Poindexture said “Over his head.” Reading between the lines, and avoiding a headlong rush to conspiracy theories (as I am prone to avoid), it seemed to me Poindexter made a very unfortunate choice of words. He had not actually said the pillow was over the judge’s face, as many were already writing, but that it was “over his head.” I suspected what Poindexter meant to say was that the pillow was between the judge’s head and the headboard.

Poindexter was clearly intending to describe a peaceful scene that raised no reason for alarm in his mind. The note about the pillow was intended to say that the judge had not even fully crawled into bed yet or gone to sleep. He had just flopped over backwards, tired, and died before even fully getting into bed. His head, in other words, hadn’t even hit the pillow.

It happens. I knew a man who was standing in his living room, talking to guests that he had just chaperoned around town for an afternoon. The guests said his eyes rolled back in mid-sentence, and he fell to the floor dead without a hint that he’d even been hurting. He’d had a sudden aneurysm. In Judge Scalia’s case, he was known to have a bad heart condition. He had recently been denied a shoulder surgery because his heart might not take it. So, after a day of hunting, he retired early because he felt tired (as he told his hosts), went to his room, and the old ticker just gave its last tock, and that was it.

Fortunately, Poindexter has now clarified his intent by telling CBS This Morning that Judge Antonin Scalia


had a pillow over his head, not over his face as some have been saying. The pillow was against the headboard.


Poindexter meant the pillow was above the judge’s head as in between the top of his head and the headboard. Just as I thought he meant, but I knew his poorly chosen words were the fuel for fire!

Trying to clear up the mess, Poindexter repeated to the New York Daily News,


There was a pillow over his head, not over his face. The face was entirely clear.


So, we can lay that to rest. There was NEVER a pillow seen over the judge’s face. We can also forgive Poindexter for his careless wording because he is probably not a man used to having to choose his words precisely for public sound bytes. His clarification makes the pillow talk flow together harmoniously with the rest of his story about a peaceful death.


This sort of interplay is not common for me. I thought I made a pretty clear statement,” Poindexter said. “And some persons have chosen to take it and place it in a context not intended.


So… No scandal. No conspiracy. But that’s no fun!

Well, not quite. The pillowing of the judge is likely out, but Judgerela’s mishandling of the death of one so famous will leave us haunted with questions forever. More interesting stories already abound, and the imagination will not readily let go of them because they are far more exciting than the most likely and certainly boring truth.


The following article includes a crackpot theory of my own that brings together all the conspiracy theories in perfect harmony:

Top – 10 Conspiracy theories about Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death


In the meantime, those who are more interested in Judge Scalia’s life or his rulings and philosophy can read here:


[amazon_image id=”0895260530″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Scalia Dissents: Writings of the Supreme Court’s Wittiest, Most Outspoken Justice[/amazon_image][amazon_image id=”1621575225″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Scalia’s Court: 30 Years on the Bench[/amazon_image][amazon_image id=”B003GWX8M6″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]American Original: The Life and Constitution of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia[/amazon_image][amazon_image id=”0743296494″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Scalia: A Court of One[/amazon_image][amazon_image id=”0742543110″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]The Political Thought of Justice Antonin Scalia: A Hamiltonian on the Supreme Court[/amazon_image][amazon_image id=”0700614478″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Antonin Scalia’s Jurisprudence: Text and Tradition[/amazon_image][amazon_image id=”1596980508″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Originalism: A Quarter-Century of Debate[/amazon_image]


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