This story is over 5 years old.


Scalia's Cause of Death Announced As Political Battle Lines Are Drawn

President Barack Obama says he expects the Senate to give any nominee of his a "fair hearing and timely vote," while Republicans said any appointment should be delayed until after the election.
Peter Foley/EPA

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's death certificate will list a heart attack as his official cause of death, according to Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevara.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead at 79 years old on Saturday on a luxury ranch in West Texas. Guevara told Dallas News Channel WFAA that she was shopping in a neighboring town Saturday when he received a call from county Sheriff Danny Dominguez informing her of Scalia's passing.


Guevara pronounced Scalia dead at 1:52 p.m. over the phone on Saturday, and said she wanted to clarify the details before deciding of his death before ordering an autopsy. At his family's request, Justice Scalia's remains were moved to El Paso, where a funeral home will prepare his body to be flown to back to the East Coast.

The US Marshals Service in Washington confirmed Scalia's death, according to the Associated Press. Spokeswoman Donna Sellers said Scalia was found dead Saturday morning after he did not appear for breakfast.The San Antonio Express News, a local Texas news outlet, was the first to report Scalia's death, quoting US District Judge Fred Biery who said he was one of the first to find out that the justice had died.

Related: The Staunchly Conservative Life and Rulings of Justice Antonin Scalia

In remarks following the announcement of Scalia's death, President Barack Obama made it clear that he intends to put forth a nominee and expects the Senate to fulfill its responsibility by giving the nominee a "fair hearing and timely vote."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement minutes after Scalia's death had been confirmed that the vacancy should not be filled until the next president has been chosen. His fellow Republicans, presidential candidates Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, also said the appointment should be delayed until the election is over.

"We ought to make the 2016 election a referendum on the Supreme Court," US Senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday.


Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton blasted Republicans who have called for Scalia's seat to remain vacant, with Bernie Sanders echoing her message in a statement at the Colorado Democrats 83rd Annual Dinner, according to the Washington Post.

Statement on the passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia: — Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton)February 14, 2016

"It appears that some of my Republican colleagues in the Senate have a very interesting view of the Constitution of the United States," Sanders said. "Apparently they believe that the Constitution does not allow a Democratic president to bring forth a nominee to replace Justice Scalia. I strongly disagree with that."

Abandoning their Senate duties would also prove that all the Republican talk about loving the Constitution is just that – empty talk.

— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren)February 14, 2016

Trump statement on Scalia's death — Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller)February 13, 2016

Ben Carson calls on Senate Republicans to block an Obama Supreme Court nominee and wait for a new president — Alex Pappas (@AlexPappas)February 14, 2016

.— Evan Smith (@evanasmith)February 13, 2016

Obama must appoint a constitutional originalist to replace Justice Scalia, nothing else will do.

— Michele Bachmann (@MicheleBachmann)February 13, 2016

News organizations have released shortlists predicting replacement possibilities, though Obama still has not confirmed any names.

Who could replace Justice Scalia? Here are 10 possibilities: — USA TODAY (@USATODAY)February 14, 2016

In three decades on the court, Scalia's opinions, often dissenting from the majority on social issues, included several denunciations of homosexuality and dismissals of equal protection in the constitution for women — issues that turned him into one of the most polarizing of the nine justices.

Scalia was nominated to the US Supreme Court in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan, which made him the longest serving justice.