Confusion and disorder compromised the U.S. Marshals Service’s response to Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, according to new documents obtained by a watchdog group.
Fix the Court, a judicial transparency group, obtained internal records from the USMS revealing local marshals were not notified of the justice’s death for several hours following his passing, and were slow to respond to the remote west Texas hunting ranch where he was found dead.
The documents, “present new information on how federal agents responded to a momentous event in an isolated part of the country and for the first time reveal the formal policies, and underscore the shortcomings therein,” said Gabe Roth, Fix the Court’s executive director.
The U.S. Marshals are the federal agency charged with protecting members of the Court. Justices opt-in to protection when traveling or socializing.
The records show Scalia declined to bring protection to the west Texas ranch where he died, though he did request the Marshals assistance when he switched planes at William P. Hobby Airport in Houston.
The documents establish a timeline of the day of the justice’s death, which suggests local marshals, at first hard to reach, were slow in responding to reports from the hunting ranch. – READ MORE