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Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia — The Truth: One of the Most Right-Wing and Regressive Voices

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
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
"Scalia was a whackjob who became a bellwether. A very sad story, actually." —Dan Froomkin
(Illustration by DonkeyHotey)


By 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:
Don't even try to enforce the inapplicable don't-speak-ill-of-the-dead "rule" for the highly polarizing, deeply consequential Antonin Scalia
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) February 13, 2016


When political figures die, there's a race to define their memory. That memory can have powerful repercussions. So remember Scalia's victims
— Dave Zirin (@EdgeofSports) February 13, 2016


It's a fine rule of etiquette for when private individuals die: it does not apply to powerful. influential officials https://t.co/68rEYF26Je
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) February 13, 2016


Send condolences to Justice Scalia's family. May he RIP. Yet, at this time must also analyze what this means for our country.
— Katrina vandenHeuvel (@KatrinaNation) February 13, 2016


Scalia was a whackjob who became a bellwether. A very sad story, actually. https://t.co/ZUrAgfsOhk
— Dan Froomkin (@froomkin) February 13, 2016


What are the chances that President Trump/Cruz is able to push through a nominee worse than Scalia?
— Ali Gharib (@Ali_Gharib) February 13, 2016


Scalia v. The World: On Antonin Scalia via @thenation https://t.co/pCXtluMxwW
— Katrina vandenHeuvel (@KatrinaNation) February 13, 2016


I personally recall with great fondness when Antonin Scalia twice vehemently argued for the right of states to imprison homosexuals for sex.
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) February 13, 2016


I have never forgotten this quote “Mere factual innocence is no reason not to carry out a death sentence properly reached”.
Antonin Scalia
— Bianca Jagger (@BiancaJagger) February 13, 2016


Death of Justice Scalia will transform D/R presidential races. It's always said presidential races are about SCOTUS. Now, it really will be.
— John Nichols (@NicholsUprising) February 13, 2016


Many #Scalia moments circulating tonight. A climate-related gem from Clean Air Act/CO2 ('06) https://t.co/OgdwwHhLU5 pic.twitter.com/g9AFlzrbKc
— Andy Revkin (@Revkin) February 13, 2016


Justice Antonin Scalia, Who Led a Conservative Renaissance on the Supreme Court, Is Dead at 79 https://t.co/VL4lrBgKaD
— BillMoyers.com (@BillMoyersHQ) February 13, 2016


I believe this denial of stay of execution on Wednesday is the last official action of Antonin Scalia on #SCOTUS. pic.twitter.com/GLk9GlbJTG
— Chris Johnson (@chrisjohnson82) February 13, 2016


"How dare you politicize #Scalia's death? It's too soon!"
2 mins later...
"We will stop Obama's new appointment at all costs!"
— ChristianChristensen (@ChrChristensen) February 13, 2016

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