Scalia: Of Course I Believe in the Devil

Justice suspects he has gay friends, 'doesn't care' about legacy
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 7, 2013 3:53 AM CDT
Updated Oct 7, 2013 6:42 AM CDT
Scalia: Of Course I Believe in the Devil
Antonin Scalia, 77, was appointed to the Supreme Court by Ronald Reagan in 1986.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

(Newser) – Antonin Scalia, the longest-serving justice and one of the most conservative currently on the Supreme Court, sat down with New York magazine for a wide-ranging interview that took in everything from Duck Dynasty to demonic possession. Some highlights:

  • On Satan: Scalia says he believes the devil is real, but while in the Bible he's "making pigs run off cliffs, he’s possessing people and whatnot," he is "now getting people not to believe in him or in God. He’s much more successful that way." Suspecting interviewer Jennifer Senior of being taken aback by his belief, he accuses her of being out of touch with most of America. "Most of mankind has believed in the devil, for all of history," he says. "Many more intelligent people than you or me have believed in the devil."

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  • On homosexuality: Scalia, an often scathing voice of dissent on landmark gay-rights decisions, says "I have friends that I know, or very much suspect, are homosexual. Everybody does." Asked if any of them have come out to him, he says, "No. No. Not that I know of."
  • On flogging: If a state enacted a law permitting flogging, Scalia would consider it "immensely stupid," but not unconstitutional. "A lot of stuff that’s stupid is not unconstitutional."
  • On the news: Scalia says he reads the Wall Street Journal and Washington Times, but he gave up on the Washington Post because of its "slanted and often nasty" take on conservative issues and "shrilly, shrilly liberal tone." He gets most of his news from the radio—"but not usually" NPR.
  • On choosing his clerks: Scalia like to hire "really smart people who don’t necessarily have to share my judicial philosophy, but they cannot be hostile to it." He tries to ensure that at least one of the four clerks is a liberal, who "will always be looking for the chinks in my armor."
  • On pop culture: "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," complains Scalia, who says he has never heard of Homeland but is a big fan of Seinfeld and Duck Dynasty.
  • On his legacy: Scalia says he doesn't know how his position on gay rights will be regarded in 50 years—and he doesn't care. "Maybe the world is spinning toward a wider acceptance of homosexual rights, and here’s Scalia, standing athwart it," he says. "But I have never been custodian of my legacy. When I’m dead and gone, I’ll either be sublimely happy or terribly unhappy."
(Read more Antonin Scalia stories.)

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