Was Scalia Assassinated?


Consider the following two teasers for items distributed by the Far Right “news source” World Net Daily:

Urgent Calls Begin for Autopsy on Scalia


Is there something we’re not being told about the death of Antonin Scalia?

There’s suddenly a push for an autopsy to be performed on the Supreme Court justice.

One political analyst says the “horrid reaction” about his death expressed by many liberals illustrate that “Scalia was hated by many people” …

Read the latest now on WND.com.


Scalia Found Dead with ‘Pillow over His Head’


The death of Antonin Scalia shocked the nation on Saturday.

And now, there comes comes a stunning new revelation from someone who discovered the Supreme Court justice in his deathbed …


Read the latest now on WND.com.

Like most conspiracy theories, this one cannot be addressed in some reasonable way that will put it to rest. In fact, each effort to dismiss it out of hand will only increase the number of people who believe that it “might” be true because if it is so clearly ridiculous an idea, why would anyone be making any effort to convince “us” that it is not true?

So, the only issue here is not whether anyone will believe that Scalia may have been assassinated but whether any of the media hucksters on the Far Right latches onto it. Even a mention by Limbaugh, Beck, or Drudge will gin this up at least until Scalia’s replacement is sworn in—and if that replacement is the nominee of a Democratic president, probably well beyond that.

In any other election year, this conspiracy theory would be too lunatic fringe for any of the candidates even to acknowledge it—including those depending on high turnout from the lunatic fringe. But, given the aberrations in this year’s race for the GOP nomination, no one should be surprised if Trump or Cruz, Carson or even Rubio, at least tests the degree to which this might resonate with primary voters.

Of course, the Far Right does not have a monopoly on conspiracy theories and theorists. But, at any given moment in history, the prevalence of such nonsense is a sure indicator of which political movement is losing its grip on the popular imagination, on the psyche of the electorate, and on power. It happened to the political Left in the 1970s, and it is happening at present to the Right. Of course, in the 1970s, the conspiracy theorists on the Left were obsessed with the details of actual assassinations. It may be a sign of how deranged the Right has now become that the theories are about concealed assassinations–in this instance, about an assassination being passed off as a nearly 80-year-old man’s dying in his sleep.

Ironically, this degeneration toward lunacy may be traced, at least to some degree, to Scalia’s own very conspicuously exhibited political ideology: see Heather Digby Parton’s article for Salon, “Antonin Scalia Was the Forefather of Modern Republican Nihilism.”



8 thoughts on “Was Scalia Assassinated?

  1. I’m in the middle of “Dark Money,” and I have to say that my belief in conspiracy theories (by the right) has gone WAY up. It makes perfect sense to inject a question of murder into the narrative already constructed about why Obama can’t break with “precedent” and make an appointment in the 7th of his 8 years (TWO TERMS) in office.

    Think about it. Obama was elected twice, wasn’t that the people deciding? If there’s a flat rule against an appointment by a president in her last year, then every president is precluded in year 4 from nominating someone to the Supremes?

    And, boy, if the Supreme DIES in that last year, well clearly there must have been foul play, especially when it’s someone the right cares about?

    Sadly, my money is on this becoming a full-bore issue in its own right “Murder at the Desert Ranch.”

  2. As much as I respect Digby, in fact she is somewhat wrong on this, specifically in her focus upon Scalia’s concurrence. By the time the case reached the Supreme Court, the Florida Legislature, lead by then Speaker Tom Feeney, had moved to legislatively designate a slate of electors for George Bush. Since a state legislature has the plenary power to decide how a state’s electors are awarded (which is why two states currently split by Congressional District and 48 state do not), their action, even after a general election, would have been constitutionally valid. The arguments about the “safe harbor” provisions noted in the Supreme Court, which flowed from the dispute over the 1876 election, would not have been relevant because it would have been a knowing action by the legislature, which by the way was completely controlled by Republicans.

    Since the Court decided before the legislative action was complete, it was deciding an issue that was not YET moot, but which soon would have been.

    Then two problems would have occurred. The first is what Scalia would have noted – a recount showing Gore having won the popular vote in the state would have had the effect of undermining the legitimacy of his election, which would have been a constitutionally valid election, since the legislature is NOT bound by the results of the voters.

    The other was more serious, and I have to believe that Scalia understood it even though he did not mention it, and wanted to avoid it. It was the real constitutional crisis which would have occurred.

    There is a provision of the 14th Amendment which denies a state representation in the House of Representatives for the proportion of the male over 21 population denied the right to vote for any of a number of offices, including for electors of the President and VP.

    So if the legislature had completed its action, would it thereby have denied the right to vote for the electors by overriding the vote of the people, even if a recount would have shown that Bush would have won (and the newspaper-run recount showed that Gore would have won even with all the problems)?

    If it had, then for how long would Florida have been denied representation in the House, for the two years of one Congressional term elected contemporaneously with the election for which voting was denied, or for the length of the term of the office (4 years) for which the vote was denied?

    I have always argued that once the Florida legislature began to move to legislatively designate the slate of electors, the election was EFFECTIVELY over and Bush had won. BUT, until the action was complete there was a pending legal matter that needed to be addressed.

    Yes, I happen to think that the Court decided improperly. Justice Breyer has been known to say that if he had another week he thought he might be able to persuade a Republican judge (O’Connor?) to side with him (although we should remember that the leader of the liberal wing, John Paul Stevens, had been appointed by Gerald Ford). I also think in the big picture the decision was irrelevant.

    What 2000 showed us was the many problems with our system of elections. It was not just the butterfly ballots in Palm Beach (“Jews for Buchanan”), it was telling voters in Duval County to “vote on every page” when the presidential candidates were spread across two pages, thereby disqualifying 15,000 ballots for overvoting, primarily in Black precincts. It was the use of a list of felons’ to disqualify thousands of otherwise eligible voters because too loose a match was considered “proof” the person was a felon without restored voting rights.
    But consider this – the state actually officially closest in its popular vote was New Mexico, a margin of 366 votes in favor of Gore. But suppose the vote in NM was tied and who won the Presidency depended upon who won New Mexico’s 5 electoral votes. What would have happened?

    Like some other states, NM settles tie elections with a game of chance, in this case, cutting a deck of cards. Consider the implications of that for the question of legitimacy!!

  3. creepy but small potatoes compared JFK conspiracy theories. I doubt any will be that enduring… Huffington Post has a Scalia conspiracy satire. I passed on Breitbart and hope the Hard Dawn piece (excerpted below) is another satire, http://harddawn.com/category/conspiracy. No telling though….

    “The wild card in this equation is likely Leonard Nimoy, who various leaked reports have identified as [having faked his own death to become] the newest leader of the Illuminati. While there is much debate about that secretive group’s ultimate motives, many citizen journalists suspect that they are expanding their control through both European-style socialism and Bilderberg-group branded international cooperation schemes. The recent Climate Change summit is the perfect example of this, as it gives foreign authorities the power to override both Congressional and Constitutional protections. As many know, the presence of the United Nations on American soil will lead to gun seizures and restrictions on Christian freedom of speech.”

    I’m not a huge mainstream media but will go with WaPo on this one, http://harddawn.com/category/conspiracy/

  4. Had this guy been on the court during the Dred Scott v Sandford decision, he would have voted with the majority: since slavery was part and parcel of the original constitution, he would have embraced his perverted and racist form of originalism. This talk about not allowing a sitting president to appoint a Supreme Court justice and receive the advice and consent of the lordly senate, is just another effort to prevent the Supreme Court from protecting minorities, women, LGBT and the rights of workers to engage in collective bargaining. This is the terrible country we live in.

  5. i am intrigued by all of these comments. but i think it is fair to say, this group of Supremos has little to do with social issues. It has been all about the money. One need not look far to understand this is not a left or right court- it is a corporatist court- and we are all paying the price.

    let’s change that by demanding a Bernie Sanders-type nominee!

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