The World According to Fat TonyPosted: October 7, 2013
There are so many things wrong with Antonin Scalia that it is really difficult to pick a place to start. Jennifer Senior interviews the man in black for NYM. To know him is to abhor him. For example, some of his best friends are probably closeted gay people.
The one thing I did think, as he said those somewhat welcoming things to gay men and women, is, Huh, this really does show how much our world has changed. I was wondering what kind of personal exposure you might have had to this sea change.
I have friends that I know, or very much suspect, are homosexual. Everybody does.
Have any of them come out to you?
No. No. Not that I know of.
Has your personal attitude softened some?
I don’t think I’ve softened. I don’t know what you mean by softened.
If you talk to your grandchildren, they have different opinions from you about this, right?
I don’t know about my grandchildren. I know about my children. I don’t think they and I differ very much. But I’m not a hater of homosexuals at all.
Justice Antonin Scalia, always eager to prove himself in the ongoing competition known as America’s Top Relic, whipped out another doozy on Monday while speaking at Princeton University. A gay student named Duncan Hosie got up and asked Scalia about his avid support for bans on “sodomy,” i.e. same-sex couples doing it, and Scalia answered with this:
“It’s a form of argument that I thought you would have known, which is called the ‘reduction to the absurd,’” Scalia told Hosie of San Francisco during the question-and-answer period. “If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?”
Scalia said he is not equating sodomy with murder but drawing a parallel between the bans on both.
Then he deadpanned: “I’m surprised you aren’t persuaded.”
That would be because boldly stating stuff without really bothering to make an argument for it isn’t persuasive, something you’d have thought Scalia’s law professors would have taught him.
The reason I bring this particular part of Scalia’s interview up is that there’s been some weirdness lately about what he has said about marriage equality in recent cases and likely to do this term. Here’s some coverage from The Advocate.
Scalia’s verdicts in both marriage equality cases this summer included strong language, referring to the majority rationale of the court in the DOMA case as legal “argle bargle,” essentially rejecting the court’s conclusion that it was unconstitutional for the federal government to recognize one set of legal marriages (opposite-sex) while denying the existence and equal treatment of others (same-sex).
This perspective clearly put Scalia in the minority on the court and, according to numerous public opinion polls, in the minority of Americans who believe that same-sex marriage is not legally equivalent to opposite-sex marriage. But Scalia is no stranger to standing in opposition, and isn’t concerned with how history will portray him and his legacy.
“Frankly, I don’t care,” said Scalia when asked how the world would view his opinions in 50 years. “Maybe the world is spinning toward a wider acceptance of homosexual rights, and here’s Scalia, standing athwart it. At least standing athwart it as a constitutional entitlement. But I have never been custodian of my legacy. When I’m dead and gone, I’ll either be sublimely happy or terribly unhappy.”
Scalia has been on somewhat of a publicity tour since the Supreme Court recessed in June, appearing at numerous conferences, universities, and in several interviews before the court’s next session, which begins today. Last week he told a crowd at Tufts University in Massachusetts that he had not yet expressed his views on “gay marriage.” In August he said the Supreme Court should not “invent new minorities,” as he alleges it did with the DOMA decision. And in July he told a group of lawyers that federal judges were not qualified to legislate “homosexual sodomy.”
I’m not sure what he’s up to in this current interview but frankly, he has expressed some views and they are worrisome.
Oh, and we should believe in a “literal” DEVIL. Why wouldn’t we?
Can we talk about your drafting process—
[Leans in, stage-whispers.] I even believe in the Devil.
Of course! Yeah, he’s a real person. Hey, c’mon, that’s standard Catholic doctrine! Every Catholic believes that.
Every Catholic believes this? There’s a wide variety of Catholics out there …
If you are faithful to Catholic dogma, that is certainly a large part of it.
Have you seen evidence of the Devil lately?
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.
It’s because he’s smart.
So what’s he doing now?
What he’s doing now is getting people not to believe in him or in God. He’s much more successful that way.
That has really painful implications for atheists. Are you sure that’s the Devil’s work?
I didn’t say atheists are the Devil’s work.
Well, you’re saying the Devil is persuading people to not believe in God. Couldn’t there be other reasons to not believe?
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.
What happened to him?
He just got wilier.
He got wilier.
Isn’t it terribly frightening to believe in the Devil?
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.
I hope you weren’t sensing contempt from me. It wasn’t your belief that surprised me so much as how boldly you expressed it.
I was offended by that. I really was.
So this man is also going to hear a case on birth control and a variety of other things this term. We should be very afraid.