Somehow I found it incongruous that the sudden death of Prince, a long recognized drug addict was investigated so thoroughly with an immediate autopsy and numerous experts on the scene to determine the cause of death while Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death under somewhat unusual circumstances, did not warrant such an autopsy?
Dr. Judy Melinek, a renown forensic pathologist commented immediately upon this lack of a Scalia autopsy in an article redacted below.
I Justice Scalia’s unexamined death points to a problem
By Dr. Judy Melinek
Dr. Judy Melinek is a forensic pathologist who performs autopsies for the Alameda County Sheriff Coroner’s Office in California
February 20, 2016
“When my husband called and told me the news that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had died, the first question that came out of my mouth was, “Where?””Texas,” he said. I said, “Oh no.”
Conspiracy theories surround Scalia’s death
I have been called to testify as a forensic pathology expert in many legal cases in Texas. I know about the laws that govern death investigation in that state.
It came as no surprise to me that Justice Scalia, found cold and pulseless in bed with a pillow “over his head,” was declared dead of natural causes without an autopsy being performed.
I was not shocked to hear that a Texas county justice of the peace agreed to issue the death certificate without visiting the death scene or seeing the body for herself!
When President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas on November 22, 1963, the local medical examiner, a trained and experienced forensic pathologist, wanted to perform an autopsy.
He was thwarted by the Secret Service, which followed the wishes of the President’s widow and flew the body out of state for an autopsy at a naval facility.
Even the Warren Commission report and thoroughgoing congressional hearings never put to rest the speculation that still surrounds John F. Kennedy’s death — and that death was indisputably a homicide, with an autopsy.
Scalia’s unexamined death will add to the conspiracy theory industrial complex. It didn’t need to be so, especially since Scalia’s pre-existing medical conditions make it likely that his death was a natural one.
Why is it that in a nation with the best medical technology in the world, we are still allowing a law enforcement official and a judge on the end of a telephone line to declare someone dead and pronounce the manner of death as natural without an autopsy?
It is the one and only scientific method for definitively determining the cause and manner of death. Even if this decedent weren’t a controversial and powerful national figure, he should have had an autopsy.
Why? Because whenever someone is dead in bed at a private residence with a pillow over his head, there is the possibility that the death was not a natural one.
Yes, Scalia had underlying medical conditions, but he did not have a known terminal illness. He was not expected to die at any moment.
His demise was, by definition, a sudden and unexpected death, and those are the types of deaths that fall under a coroner or medical examiner’s jurisdiction.
Though John Poindexter, the owner of the ranch and the man who found Scalia’s body, later stated that the pillow was against the headboard and “not over his face,” there still should have been a death scene investigation by trained personnel.
And there should have been an autopsy by a board-certified forensic pathologist. Instead, we have a marshal and the property owner calling up a justice of the peace, and everyone agreeing that there must have been “no foul play.” Even if there was no foul play, the lack of an autopsy still leaves too many open questions.
Had Scalia died in an urban center with a medical examiner’s office, he would have had a thorough and complete death investigation, including an independent review of his medical records, and an examination at the death scene.
His body would have been brought to the morgue, and at the very least, an external examination would have been performed by a licensed forensic pathologist.
Now that a murky, rushed death certification has marred the passing of one of the very highest legal figures in the United States, shouldn’t we do something about it?
II This lack of an autopsy on Justice Scalia quickly linked me to an article that I recently published in Israel Commentary, April 14, 2016 called:
A Startling Parade of “Fortuitous Coincident events” that ended with Barack Obama becoming President of the United States. Hmm…
This is no space to re-list all these events. Please read the article. Any one of these ‘coincident events’ when taken singularly appear to not mean much, but when taken as a whole, a computer would blow a main circuit if you asked it to calculate the odds that they have occurred by chance alone.
Please read this list of events and then maybe wonder if Justice Scalia’s sudden uninvestigated death is another “Fortuitous Coincident event” in the ongoing legacy of Barack Hussein Obama.
Scalia had been a thorn in the throat of Obama since Obama, immediate to his ascent into the Presidency, flagrantly ignored the separation of powers between the Supreme Court, the US Congress and the Presidency. As far as Obama has been concerned there is no separation. There is only Executive Power that supersedes the others with no debate required
Supreme Court Justice Scalia opposed virtually all of Obama’s executive actions. The effect of his loss is incalculable. The Court is now in a 4/4 decision making mode that makes many of the actions Scalia had initiated mute. We have already seen this disaster unfold.
III There are the key cases facing the Supreme Court after Scalia’s death
By Robert Barnes February 14, 2016
Four cases that could re-shape the country will be heard when the Supreme Court meets this term without Justice Antonin Scalia. Scalia consistently expressed conservative views when reviewing court cases. (Claritza Jimenez/The Washington Post)
The death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia casts a cloud of uncertainty over a Supreme Court term filled with some of the most controversial issues facing the nation: abortion, affirmative action, the rights of religious objectors to the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act, and the president’s powers on immigration and deportation.
An eight-member court could split on all of those issues. If the court ties in deciding a case, the decision of the appeals court remains in place, without setting a nationwide precedent.
Pending a new justice, the court now has three consistent conservatives — Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. — and Anthony M. Kennedy, like Scalia a Reagan appointee but one who often sides with the court’s liberals on social issues, such as same-sex marriage.
The court has four consistent liberals: Ruth Bader Ginsburg plus Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
III Unfortunately, Justice Scalia had numerous Left Wing enemies besides Barack Obama.
Wm. Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard discusses:
Scalia and His Enemies
FEB 29, 2016
In January, The Scrapbook was privileged to be in attendance at a speech Antonin Scalia gave to a small audience at Catholic University. We can’t claim to have known the man or even to have met him for more than a handshake, but Scalia was such a presence that even being in the same room with him was a thrill.
His written words were surpassingly impressive, but his boisterous and gregarious delivery only added to the impression that one was in the presence of greatness.
One did not have to agree with Scalia to appreciate his personal qualities, to say nothing of his legal acumen. Nonetheless, as soon as Scalia died, the knives were drawn.
After Georgetown Law School sent out a press release noting the school was mourning his death (he received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown and was the 1957 valedictorian and a champion debater there), two of the school’s longtime professors, Gary Peller and Louis Michael Seidman, issued a public dissent saying that many at Georgetown’s community “cringed at . . . the unmitigated praise with which the press release described a jurist that many of us believe was a defender of privilege, oppression and bigotry, one whose intellectual positions were not brilliant but simplistic and formalistic.
There’s a great irony in Peller’s disdaining Scalia’s prodigious intellect as “simplistic.” Peller’s own specialty is in critical race theory and critical legal studies, which are hardly summits of academic rigor. As the Daily Caller put it, a “major part of Peller’s work is denying the very existence of objective knowledge or the value of concepts like rationality, on the grounds that knowledge is just ‘a function of the ability of the powerful to impose their own views.’ ”
Fortunately, more than a few honest liberals testified to the truth of who Scalia was. Cass Sunstein, a former Obama administration official and respected legal scholar, wrote a glowing remembrance for Bloomberg.
He recalled that in 1994 after Bill Clinton swore in his second liberal justice, Stephen Breyer, “Justice Antonin Scalia came up to me, put his arm around my shoulder, and said with a bright, mischievous smile, “First Ruth [Bader Ginsburg], and now Steve? Cass, it’s almost enough to make me vote Democrat.”
Still, the number of supposedly respectable liberal voices attacking Scalia is positively dispiriting. But we take comfort in the fact that Scalia was an indisputably great man. It’s not his life and work that are on trial. Those taking the occasion of his death to attack the man’s legacy are only indicting themselves.
Where then is the autopsy? Was the death from natural causes or not. Is it one more episode in the “Fortuitous Coincidence” of Obama’s success story with his opponents taking a fortuitous exit or is it just another conspiracy theory!
All that could be clarified with a simple autopsy by a reputable forensic pathologist. Or, is that exactly what the present Administration with undoubtedly one of the most crucial, sea changing presidential election before us, does not want to determine?
Jerome S. Kaufman
Editor/Publisher Israel Commentary
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