Last night, New York magazine published a wide-ranging interview with the Supreme Court's resident curmudgeonly homophobe, Justice Antonin Scalia.
Reporter Jennifer Senior's piece is fascinating and worth reading in full. It contains a number of fascinating gems, but most noteworthy -- for this reader, anyway -- were Scalia's comments on homosexuality.
For starters, we learned that while the justice is relatively certain he knows LGBT people, he can't be sure because none have ever officially come out to him.
Jennifer Senior: The one thing I did think, as [Pope Francis] 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.
Antonin Scalia: I have friends that I know, or very much suspect, are homosexual. Everybody does.
JS: Have any of them come out to you?
AS: No. No. Not that I know of.
JS: Has your personal attitude softened some?
AS: Toward what?
AS: I don't think I've softened. I don't know what you mean by softened.
JS: If you talk to your grandchildren, they have different opinions from you about this, right?
AS: 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. I still think it's Catholic teaching that it's wrong. Okay? But I don't hate the people that engage in it. In my legal opinions, all I've said is that I don't think the Constitution requires the people to adopt one view or the other.
I can't say I'm shocked that none of Scalia's LGBT friends have come out to him. After all the disgusting things he's said about our community, would you feel safe around this guy?
Read what Scalia thinks of the DOMA opinion, his dissent in Lawrence v. Texas (he still believes homosexuality is a "lifestyle," for example), and his legacy on LGBT rights -- after the jump.
The interview continued:
JS: There was something different about your DOMA opinion, I thought. It was really pungent, yes, but you seemed more focused on your colleagues' jurisprudence. You didn't talk about a gay lobby, or about the fact that people have the right to determine what they consider moral. In Lawrence v. Texas, you said Americans were within their rights in "protecting themselves and their families from a lifestyle that they believe to be immoral and destructive."
AS: I would write that again. But that's not saying that I personally think it's destructive. Americans have a right to feel that way. They have a democratic right to do that, and if it is to change, it should change democratically, and not at the ukase of a Supreme Court.
JS: The what?
AS: U-K-A-S-E. Yeah. I think that's how you say it. It's a mandate. A decree.
JS: Whatever you think of the opinion, Justice Kennedy is now the Thurgood Marshall of gay rights.
JS: I don't know how, by your lights, that's going to be regarded in 50 years.
AS: I don't know either. And, frankly, I don't care. 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.
Remember, this is the man who once equated homosexuality with "flagpole sitting." I'll let you sound off in the comments about what you hope happens to him after he's gone.
Elsewhere in the interview, we learn that Justice Scalia gets his printed news from the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Times, a conservative, anti-gay newspaper that until 2010 was a propaganda mouthpiece for the whacky Sun Myung Moon's "Unification Church." Scalia discontinued his subscription to the Washington Post because says it became "shrilly, shrilly liberal." But by his own admission, he gets most of his news by listening to the radio on his drive to and from work. And Scalia isn't listening to NPR either -- "talk guys, usually," he said.
Here too, I'll leave it to your imagination to speculate which "talk guys" are Scalia's favorite. Limbaugh? Hannity? Beck? Michael Savage? The thought of any of those blowhards having the ear of a Supreme Court justice sends chills up my spine.
Scalia also believes in a literal Devil (the pitchfork-wielding, fork-tongued red reptile/man with a big tail presiding over an underground lake of eternal fire and torture), thinks "there are some intelligent reasons to treat women differently" on the basis of gender in situations "like going into combat or whatnot," and -- of all things -- agrees with me that Pope Francis's comments about homosexuality made no substantive changes to the Catholic Church's teachings.
Finally, Scalia displays flourishes of that curmudgeonly, get-off-my-lawn discursive style that occasionally brings an eye-rolling smile to the face of even his most ardent critics. For example, he's simply aghast by the coarse manner in which women speak on the talking pictures these days: "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. People that I know don't talk like that!"
And Facebook? Forget it. "[Some] things I don't understand about [the Internet]. For example, I don't know why anyone would like to be "friended" on the network. I mean, what kind of a narcissistic society is it that people want to put out there, This is my life, and this is what I did yesterday? I mean ... good grief. Doesn't that strike you as strange? I think it's strange."
The rest of Senior's interview is every bit as fascinating, frustrating, and revealing as the excerpts I've included here. Head over to New York magazine's website to read it in full. If it gets too long, though, just check out this great summary from Chris Geidner at BuzzFeed.
What do you think? How do you feel about Antonin Scalia? Has this latest interview changed or shaped your views about him?
Satan image via YouTube.
Grumpy old man graphic via sportshoopla.com.