In a wide-ranging interview with New York‘s Jennifer Senior, Supreme Court Justice and conservative icon Antonin Scalia revealed much about his habits, both daily and intellectual, since coming to the court.
When asked about his morning media consumption, he claimed to “skim” The Wall Street Journal and Washington Times, but that he had given up on the Washington Post because it “became so shrilly, shrilly liberal.”
He told Senior that the Internet has “coarsened” people. “You can’t go to a movie—or watch a television show for that matter—without hearing the constant use of the F-word—including, you know, ladies using it,” he said. “People that I know don’t talk like that! But if you portray it a lot, the society’s going to become that way.”
On the topic of homosexuality and his judicial opinions on it, he said that “I have friends that I know, or very much suspect, are homosexual,” but that none have ever come out to him, possibly because of his strident belief in Catholic doctrine. He then taunted Senior, leaning in and telling her “I even believe in the Devil.”
When she expressed shock at his literal belief in Biblical text, Scalia responded, “he’s a real person. Hey, c’mon, that’s standard Catholic doctrine! Every Catholic believes that.” He then volunteered that while the Devil no longer “mak[es] pigs run off cliff,” he’s still quite active: “What he’s doing now is getting people not to believe in him or in God. He’s much more successful that way.”
“You’re looking at me as though I’m weird,” he continued. “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.”
That the Court’s resident originalist holds the words as written in the Gospels — though not in English — in such high esteem, or that he should use fealty to the specific language and claims of a text as a means of prickling someone, should surprise no one familiar with Scalia or his opinions. “My tone is sometimes sharp,” he told Senior, “but I think sharpness is sometimes needed to demonstrate how much of a departure I believe the thing is.”