A Guide to the Scalia Assassination Conspiracy Theories
Within a few hours of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death at a West Texas resort over the weekend, conservative talk radio hosts and bloggers began to question whether the 79-year-old justice in ill health had really died of natural causes—or if something more nefarious was afoot.
According to media reports, Scalia was found dead in his room at the Cibolo Creek Ranch on the morning of Saturday, February 13. Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevara pronounced Scalia dead of natural causes over the phone, after hearing from local law enforcement officers who assured her that the justice was in a state of repose and there were “no signs of foul play.” Guevara also heard from Scalia’s doctor in Washington, who relayed that the justice had several chronic health conditions. Pronouncing a death over the phone is permissible under Texas law.
But like all conspiracy theories, the facts leave just enough room for speculation. Scalia had declined a security detail by the US Marshals Service during his trip, so marshals were not present. No autopsy was performed—Guevara did not order one and Scalia’s family made clear that it did not want one. And Scalia was found with a pillow over his head. (The owner of the resort who found Scalia, John Poindexter, later clarified to CNN, “He had a pillow over his head, not over his face as some have been saying…The pillow was against the headboard and over his head when he was discovered.” Presumably, few professional killers suffocate their targets and then forget to remove the pillow afterward.)
Add it all up, and there’s plenty of fodder for conspiracy theorists who claim Scalia was killed. And the culprit, according to much of the speculation, is the Obama administration.
Here is a field guide to the theories so far.
Obama did it. On Sunday, noted conspiracy theorist and conservative talk show host Alex Jones floated the murder theory on his show. “You just get used to this: ‘Scalia found, it’s natural, nothing going on here, he just died naturally,’” Jones said. “Then you realize, Obama is just one vote away from being able to ban guns, open the borders, and actually have the court engage in its agenda, and now Scalia dies. My gut tells me they killed him, and all the intellectual evidence lays it out.”