On the eve of the First Monday in October, New York magazine released an in-depth Q&A with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, in which he holds court on a wide range of personal and judicial views.
Not surprisingly, he reads the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Times, but not the New York Times or the Washington Post (“shrilly liberal”).
One of his favorite television shows? Seinfeld, especially the “soup Nazi” episode.
He believes in the Devil, as do most Catholics — and most people — he says.
He suspects that he has friends who are gay.
Here’s Scalia on his evolution as a constitutional originalist (who interprets the Constitution as the framers intended it rather than as an evolving document) and a textualist (who believes that statutes must be interpreted based on their words alone):
If a state enacted a law permitting flogging, it is immensely stupid, but it is not unconstitutional. A lot of stuff that’s stupid is not unconstitutional. I gave a talk once where I said they ought to pass out to all federal judges a stamp, and the stamp says—Whack! [Pounds his fist.]—STUPID BUT CONSTITUTIONAL. Whack! [Pounds again.] STUPID BUT CONSTITUTIONAL! Whack! STUPID BUT CONSTITUTIONAL … [Laughs.] And then somebody sent me one.
Here he is on the Court’s methods of evaluating discrimination (types of scrutiny):
I am not a fan of different levels of scrutiny. Strict scrutiny, intermediate scrutiny,blah blah blah blah. That’s just a thumb on the scales.
But there are some intelligent reasons to treat women differently. I don’t think anybody would deny that. And there really is no, virtually no, intelligent reason to treat people differently on the basis of their skin.
And here’s Scalia on why he doesn’t attend the State of the Union:
It’s childish.. . . . But I’m not the only one who didn’t go. John Paul Stevens never went, Bill Rehnquist never went during his later years. Because it is a childish spectacle. And we are trucked in just to give some dignity to the occasion. I mean, there are all these punch lines, and one side jumps up—Hooray! And they all cheer, and then another punch line, and the others stand up, Hooray! It is juvenile! And we have to sit there like bumps on a log. We can clap if somebody says, “The United States is the greatest country in the world.” Yay! But anything else, we have to look to the chief justice. Gee, is the chief gonna clap? It didn’t used to be that bad.
Read the full interview here.