Patterico's Pontifications


A Delightful Interview with Antonin Scalia

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:33 pm

Perhaps even more delightful due to the interviewer, a standard Big Media type with the standard Big Media opinions, who serves as a foil for the Justice’s jolly and joyous browbeating.

The bold type indicates the questions.

You believe in heaven and hell?
Oh, of course I do. Don’t you believe in heaven and hell?

Oh, my.

Does that mean I’m not going?
[Laughing.] Unfortunately not!

Wait, to heaven or hell?
It doesn’t mean you’re not going to hell, just because you don’t believe in it. That’s Catholic doctrine! Everyone is going one place or the other.

But you don’t have to be a Catholic to get into heaven? Or believe in it?
Of course not!

Oh. So you don’t know where I’m going. Thank God.
I don’t know where you’re going. I don’t even know whether Judas Iscariot is in hell. 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?

Can we talk about your drafting process—
[Leans in, stage-whispers.] I even believe in the Devil.

You do?
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.

I’m sorry to have offended you!
Have you read The Screwtape Letters?

Yes, I have.
So, there you are. That’s a great book. It really is, just as a study of human nature.

Read it all.

21 Responses to “A Delightful Interview with Antonin Scalia”

  1. I am curious: what convinced any person of the reality ofthe devil?

    In my case, it was living with an atheist. I’m on a cell phone, so there are no details I can economically add.

    Dianna (654d89)

  2. God Bless Antonin Scalia. I mean that sincerely.

    GUS (70b624)

  3. Dianna, the day I found my Mother dead on her bedroom floor, my Liberal,unhappy, and dysfunctional older brother informed several assembled family members, that he and his son, did not require a funeral, as they are/were Atheists.
    This occurred as the Police guarded the staircase to my Mothers upstairs bedroom, awaiting the Medical examiner. My mother was a devout Roman Catholic, and had not even been officially declared dead yet. Atheists are free to be atheists. But most I have ever met, are atheists for the purpose of being contrary or because they have no faith, and object to those who do.
    After the Medical Examiner had my mothers body removed, the ATHEIST went home, and I took care of ALL the necessary arrangements for the months to come. He wore NO SUIT, but did have a BASEBALL CAP ON at the Roman Catholic funeral mass.

    GUS (70b624)

  4. Condolences, Gus.

    mg (31009b)

  5. Oh, Gus, that’s worse thanany story I could tell. I’m so sorry you experienced that.

    Dianna (654d89)

  6. Listening and reading all the haterade that that came spewing from the left leaning sites with this reveal by the Judge. It all reminded me of all the BS I heard from the cooky clan and their fear of the Catholics. The spew is the same, just the words are different.

    Charles (491f81)

  7. That poor reporter chicklet was so far out of her depth as to need a deep sea diving suit for most of the interview.

    Estragon (19fa04)

  8. Gus, I’m sorry you lost your mother and for the behavior of your brother. Insult added to a tough injury is the worst.


    I loved this interview.

    Dustin (303dca)

  9. Quick, send out the word! It’s time for Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Dick Durbin and Sonia Sotomayor to ride to the rescue of their fellow Roman Catholic.


    What about Congresswoman Jackie Speier, who was shot five times by evil men as part of the events surrounding the Jonestown Massacre? Surely SHE will publicly back up Scalia’s stated beliefs!

    *chirp chirp*

    Icy (102115)

  10. Oh, it’s a girl doing the interview. That explains it. Too bad. Feeling: Disappointed.

    nk (dbc370)

  11. I am curious: what convinced any person of the reality ofthe devil?

    A better question than the dips** asked Scalia and I wish Scalia had talked about that. I already know what Catholics believe.

    nk (dbc370)

  12. She could never understand what makes us tick;

    narciso (3fec35)

  13. Any remnants of te REpublic, are magical thinking:

    narciso (3fec35)

  14. I don’t think the interviewer remembered very well what was in The Screwtape Letters and may want to read it again.

    As far as evidence for the existence of the devil, there was a famous quote at the time of the genocide in Rwanda, “There are no demons in hell, they’re all in Rwanda”.

    Humans can be evil, but we also talk about being inhuman; maybe there is sometimes more to that then we realize.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  15. I read that article already. Mostly very early this morning. My copy of New York magazine came yesterday. It is worth calling more attention to, although I was interested in the parts other than about is religion.

    He talks also about the Supreme Court, and about Washington, hunting, and his own reputation. The most “heroic” opinion he ever issued – maybe he only one he ever issued, was the one not recusing himself from a case involving Vice Presient Richard Cheney. That took guts and courage – he did the right thing and came under a lot of criticism, but it was the right thing to do and he is proud of it.

    Most of his opinions don’t take guts, they take smarts. His most impressive opinion, he thinks, was in Morrison v Olson, but it won’t be the one with most impact in the future, because it was a dissent.

    And he believes, when issuing majority opinions, in dealing with the objections and arguments in the dissents, not like Rehnquist, who tended to ignore them, but like John Stevens. He thinks arguments improve an opinion, and the worst opinions are often the unanimous ones, because there’s nobody pointing out flaws.

    He doesn’t need Supreme Court clerks who agree with him, but he does need clerks who are not hostile to his judicial philosophy and whose first drafts are in accordance with his judicial philosophy and not theirs.

    All other things being equal, he would like one of his four clerks to be a social liberal. People who don’t agree with him on things will spot mistakes, and that’s what clerks are for. But he has a hard time finding liberals who will pay attention to text and not the underlying issues.

    All in all, he would like to hire clerks from lower ranked law schools, but he has trouble evaulating their quality, unless one of his former clerks is teaching there and recommends that person, while he can rely better on someone graduating from Harvard, Yale, Stanford, or Chicago, so he winds up taking most of his clerks from places like that. He can’t afford to have a dud.

    He hasn’t been all that successful with originalism, although now it is treated seriously as judicial philosophy in major law schools – it wasn’t 20 years ago, but he has been more succesful with textualism – paying attention to what the law says, not what committee reports may say.

    His work seems to be getting easier, and he wondered if maybe he was losing it, and wasn’t being thorough and maybe getting lazy, but after due reflection came to the conclusion that the reason the work seemed so easy is that so many of the cases were about extending precedents from the previous 27 years that he’s been there, which he dissented from in the first place!

    Sammy Finkelman (a04c34)

  16. The magazine did put “The Devil and Antonin Scalia” on the cover, although it also indicated he talked about some other things.

    I was actually thinking of linking it, but New York Magazine articles are hard to search through, so I am very glad Patterico already had the link.

    Anotgehr good artcle this week is: Does being a good parent make you a bad person – about parents conniving to give their children a leg up.

    Sammy Finkelman (a04c34)

  17. I like Conservatives who are good natured but more than happy to punch you in the face when deserved.

    I think people who don’t believe in god or go for this false church/state thing fail to accept Religion is a means by which we get people to act better, not worse.

    Nothing wrong with that unless of course you are a Democrat Official who benefits from people doing otherwise.

    Rodney King's Spirit (5afc40)

  18. Some people are sure Bill Self is going to hell.

    phaedruscj (dc2574)

  19. Interesting interview and my admiration for the man increases.

    Colonel Haiku (eacb1f)

  20. He’s right about the decision not to recuse himself being brave. It would have been so easy to go along with the demand to recuse himself, “just to bend over backwards to avoid even the unreasonable appearance of impropriety”. It would have been no skin of his nose — or Cheney’s! But it would have set a terrible precedent that would be used forever after to force judges off cases in order to game the result. Bravo to him for resisting that temptation and doing the right thing.

    Milhouse (3d0df0)

  21. BTW, in case people have forgotten, the most obvious reason why he didn’t recuse himself was that the case didn’t involve Dick Cheney, but the Vice President, whoever that happened to be at the time. Had it still been going on 20-Jan-2009, the title of the case would automatically have changed to Biden v. United States District Court for the District of Columbia, and proceeded exactly as before. The outcome of the case was immaterial to Cheney himself, losing it would have had no impact at all on him, not even embarrassment, so it never made any sense that his friends should care whether he won or lost it.

    Milhouse (3d0df0)

Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.0867 secs.