This morning, the media is abuzz with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia‘s extensive interview with New York Magazine’s Jennifer Senior. In it, Scalia says he has friends he knows or suspects are “homosexual,” and he thinks everybody does. You’ll find that to be one of the most reasonable thing he says. The rest of the interview should scare the bejesus out of all Americans.
Scalia insists he is “not a hater of homosexuals at all,” but says,
“Americans have a right to feel” that homosexuality is a “lifestyle that they believe to be immoral and destructive.”
Asked if his “personal attitude” towards homosexuality has “softened some,” the 77-year old virulently anti-gay jurist, a devout Roman Catholic, says, “I don’t know what you mean by ‘softened.’”
He cannot even grasp the idea of moderating his views of gay people because “it’s Catholic teaching that it’s wrong.”
In fact, Scalia is so wrapped up in the Bible he is ruled by his Catholic faith — and belief in the Devil.
SCALIA: I even believe in the Devil.
NY MAGAZINE: You do?
SCALIA: Of course! Yeah, he’s a real person. Hey, c’mon, that’s standard Catholic doctrine! Every Catholic believes that.
NY MAGAZINE: Every Catholic believes this? There’s a wide variety of Catholics out there …
SCALIA: If you are faithful to Catholic dogma, that is certainly a large part of it.
NY MAGAZINE: Have you seen evidence of the Devil lately?
SCALIA: You know, it is curious. In the Gospels, the Devil is doing all sorts of things. He’s making pigs run off cliffs, he’s possessing people and whatnot. And that doesn’t happen very much anymore.
NY MAGAZINE: No.
SCALIA: It’s because he’s smart.
NY MAGAZINE: So what’s he doing now?
SCALIA: What he’s doing now is getting people not to believe in him or in God. He’s much more successful that way.
NY MAGAZINE: That has really painful implications for atheists. Are you sure that’s the Devil’s work?
SCALIA: I didn’t say atheists are the Devil’s work.
NY MAGAZINE: Well, you’re saying the Devil is persuading people to not believe in God. Couldn’t there be other reasons to not believe?
SCALIA: Well, there certainly can be other reasons. But it certainly favors the Devil’s desires. I mean, c’mon, that’s the explanation for why there’s not demonic possession all over the place. That always puzzled me. What happened to the Devil, you know? He used to be all over the place. He used to be all over the New Testament.
NY MAGAZINE: Right.
SCALIA: What happened to him?
NY MAGAZINE: He just got wilier.
SCALIA: He got wilier.
NY MAGAZINE: Isn’t it terribly frightening to believe in the Devil?
SCALIA: You’re looking at me as though I’m weird. My God! Are you so out of touch with most of America, most of which believes in the Devil? I mean, Jesus Christ believed in the Devil! It’s in the Gospels! You travel in circles that are so, so removed from mainstream America that you are appalled that anybody would believe in the Devil! Most of mankind has believed in the Devil, for all of history. Many more intelligent people than you or me have believed in the Devil.
Yes, in Antonin Scalia’s world, you are “so removed from mainstream America” if you don’t believe in the Devil, or you’re “appalled that anybody would.”
Scalia lives in a silo, built by the Bible, and right-wing media — and only right wing media. He is so incurious that he refuses to read anything so liberal as the New York Times or the Washington Post.
What’s your media diet? Where do you get your news?
Well, we get newspapers in the morning.
“We” meaning the justices?
No! Maureen and I.
Oh, you and your wife …
I usually skim them. We just get The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Times. We used to get the Washington Post, but it just … went too far for me. I couldn’t handle it anymore.
What tipped you over the edge?
It was the treatment of almost any conservative issue. It was slanted and often nasty. And, you know, why should I get upset every morning? I don’t think I’m the only one. I think they lost subscriptions partly because they became so shrilly,shrilly liberal.
So no New York Times, either?
No New York Times, no Post.
And do you look at anything online?
I get most of my news, probably, driving back and forth to work, on the radio.
Sometimes NPR. But not usually.
Talk guys, usually.
Anyone care to take bets on which “talk guys?”
Then there are his views on women.
What about sex discrimination? Do you think the Fourteenth Amendment covers it?
Of course it covers it! No, you can’t treat women differently, give them higher criminal sentences. Of course not.
A couple of years ago, I think you told California Lawyer something different.
What I was referring to is: The issue is not whether it prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. Of course it does. The issue is, “What is discrimination?”
If there’s a reasonable basis for not letting women do something—like going into combat or whatnot…
Let’s put it this way: Do you think the same level of scrutiny that applies to race should apply to sex?
I am not a fan of different levels of scrutiny. Strict scrutiny, intermediate scrutiny, blah blah blah blah. That’s just a thumb on the scales.
But there are some intelligent reasons to treat women differently. I don’t think anybody would deny that. And there really is no, virtually no, intelligent reason to treat people differently on the basis of their skin.
To Scalia, it’s OK to “treat women differently,” and yet, oddly, he doesn’t mention what the “intelligent reasons to treat women differently” are. Frighteningly, he cannot even grasp the concept, or definition of discrimination.
And that is a huge reason all Americans should be scared. Scalia does move the Court to the right. He literally wants to take America back to the time of our Founding Fathers.
A Republican president elected in 2016, making more appointments to the Supreme Court would ensure that happens.
There’s much more in New York Magazine’s interview. Read it, if you can bear it.
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