- (Photo: The Atlantic Wire)
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia spoke bluntly on a wide range of topics in a lively interview with New York magazine's Jennifer Senior published Sunday.
Pope Francis is "absolutely right" about the Catholic Church needing to be more evangelistic, Scalia said, and he has often "bemoaned the fact that the Catholic Church has sort of lost that evangelistic spirit."
Scalia, 77, is currently the longest serving member of the Supreme Court, and one of six Catholics on the Supreme Court. (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 80, is the oldest member on the Court. Scalia is second oldest.)
Scalia does not believe, though, that Francis has altered church teaching on abortion and homosexuality. Rather, in his view, Francis is saying, "Don't spend all our time talking about that stuff [abortion and homosexuality]. Talk about Jesus Christ and evangelize."
Scalia suspects that he has some friends who are homosexual, but they have not discussed their sexuality with him. He is not a "hater of homosexuals" but agrees with Catholic teaching that homosexual behavior is wrong.
Hell and the Devil
One of the liveliest exchanges came when Senior said she did not believe in hell and the devil. Scalia assured Senior that she did not have to be Catholic to go heaven, and that he does not know whether or not she will go to heaven.
"I don't even know whether Judas Iscariot is in hell," he said. "I mean, that's what the pope meant when he said, 'Who am I to judge?' He may have recanted and had severe penance just before he died. Who knows?"
Senior seemed surprised when Scalia told her the he also believes in the Devil. Scalia became offended by her reaction.
"You're looking at me as though I'm weird," he answered. "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."
Favorite TV Shows
Seinfeld was one of Scalia's favorite TV shows. He has some DVD's (which he called "CD's") of the episodes. And he quoted one of the classic lines from the series: "No soup for you!"
Scalia has watched one episode of Duck Dynasty. Scalia and Senior spoke at length about his enjoyment of hunting. Duck Dynasty is a reality show following the exploits of a family that makes duck calls. Scalia said he uses duck calls.
"So many people said 'Oh, it's a great show' that I thought I'd better look at it," he explained.
Scalia also hit upon his jurisprudence, which he likes to call "originalism," at different points throughout the interview. He believes that judges should interpret the meaning of words as they are written, rather than reinterpret laws according to changing social mores.
"Words have meaning. And their meaning doesn't change. I mean, the notion that the Constitution should simply, by decree of the Court, mean something that it didn't mean when the people voted for it - frankly, you should ask the other side the question! How did they ever get there?" he said.
Scalia does not believe it is the job of judges to strike down "stupid" laws, because: "A lot of stuff that's stupid is not unconstitutional."
Scalia also talked about talk radio, poker, how he selects law clerks, his favorite opinion that he wrote, canceling his subscription to The Washington Post, and why he does not attend the State of the Union address. Check out the whole interview here.