Kirsters Baish| We all remember what happened to the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. He was found dead in his own bed back in February of 2016. After Scalia’s death, the battle over which president should get to nominate his replacement commenced. The GOP eventually won and President Trump was able to nominate Neil Gorsuch.
One watchdog group has now gotten their hands on documents which detail exactly what happened the day Scalia died, and it’s stranger than we thought.
Confusion and disorder compromised the U.S. Marshals Service’s response to Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, according to new documents obtained by a watchdog group.
Fix the Court, a judicial transparency group, obtained internal records from the USMS revealing local marshals were not notified of the justice’s death for several hours following his passing, and were slow to respond to the remote west Texas hunting ranch where he was found dead.
The documents, “present new information on how federal agents responded to a momentous event in an isolated part of the country and for the first time reveal the formal policies, and underscore the shortcomings therein,” said Gabe Roth, Fix the Court’s executive director.
The United States Marshals are being charged with protecting members of the Court. Justices have the option of protection when they are traveling or socializing. Records prove that Scalia had declined to have protection when he made his way to the west Texas ranch where he ultimately died. He did ask for assistance when he moved from one plane to another at William P. Hobby Airport in Houston, Texas.
Documents also show a timeline of the day that he died. It also suggests that marshals were slow when responding to reports from the ranch that Scalia was staying at.
It’s not clear that the Marshals understood Scalia was dead after their conversation with Presidio law enforcement. Twenty minutes later at 1:00 pm the west Texas Marshals office called the agency’s communications center and relayed that “a member of Justice Scalia’s party was dead.”
The first federal agents did not arrive on scene until 2:38 pm, two hours after they were summoned by local sheriffs, and almost four hours after Justice Scalia was found dead. At that point, Marshals secured the facility and the justice’s remains, while transferring his personal effects to an agency safe.