A statement issued by the U.S. Marshals Service on Sunday, a day after Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died while at a ranch in Texas, had many wondering whether his death could have been prevented.
“The U.S. Marshals Service routinely coordinates with the U.S. Supreme Court police to provide security for the Justices, however, Justices may decline USMS protection,” the statement read, according to CBS News. “In this instance, the USMS detail was declined for the personal trip to the hunting resort in Texas, so USMS personnel were not present at the ranch.”
It continued, “Deputy U.S. Marshals from the Western District of Texas responded immediately upon notification of Justice Scalia’s passing.”
Instead, she relied on testimony from law enforcement agents, who assured her “there were no signs of foul play,” as well as testimony from Scalia’s physician, who claimed that the justice had died from a buildup of several chronic conditions.
She also took into consideration testimony from John Poindexter, the owner of the ranch where Scalia died.
Poindexter explained that Scalia’s behavior the night before was normal, with the justice having gone with a group to hunt blue quail and then later attended a private party. Everything seemed fine until the following morning, when Scalia never showed up for breakfast.
But when Poindexter went in to check on the justice, everything again seemed normal, save for the fact that Scalia could not be awakened.
“Everything was in perfect order,” he said. “He was in his pajamas, peacefully, in bed.”
From the initial sounds of it, Scalia did indeed die of natural causes. However, the question remains: If U.S. marshals had been on the scene, could Scalia’s death have been prevented?