Antonin Scalia, one of the most conservative justices on the Supreme Court, tipped his hand during a speech on Thursday.
On Thursday, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia delivered the commencement address atÂ a private all-girls 700-student Catholic school inÂ Bethesda, Maryland. How was the small school lucky enough to get a sitting Supreme Court justice? Scalia’s granddaughter was graduating from the school that day.
Justice Scalia, one of the Court’s most conservative justices, is often giving speeches and interviews, not to mention writing legal opinions for the Supreme Court on cases that shape the nation and our future.
His commentary is often amusingÂ â€“ even his closest friend on the Court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the most progressive of all the justicesÂ â€“ enjoys his wit and sense of humor.
But often Scalia’s comments reveal the mind of someone who seems stuck in a different centuryÂ â€“ not the 21st century, not even the 20th.
For example, in a 2013Â interviewÂ withÂ New York Magazine, Scalia casually acknowledged he not only believes the devil exists, but that the devil is a real person.
Here’s the transcript, which is too rivetingÂ to summarize:
SCALIA: I even believe in the Devil.
NY MAGAZINE: You do?
SCALIA:Â Of course! Yeah, heâ€™s a real person. Hey, câ€™mon, thatâ€™s standard Catholic doctrine! Every Catholic believes that.
NY MAGAZINE:Â EveryÂ Catholic believes this? Thereâ€™s a wide variety of Catholics out there â€¦
SCALIA:Â If you are faithful to Catholic dogma, that is certainly a large part of it.
NY MAGAZINE:Â Have you seen evidence of the Devil lately?
SCALIA:Â You know, it is curious. In the Gospels, the Devil is doing all sorts of things. Heâ€™s making pigs run off cliffs, heâ€™s possessing people and whatnot. And that doesnâ€™t happen very much anymore.
NY MAGAZINE:Â No.
SCALIA:Â Itâ€™s because heâ€™s smart.
NY MAGAZINE:Â So whatâ€™s he doing now?
SCALIA:Â What heâ€™s doing now is getting people not to believe in him or in God. Heâ€™s much more successful that way.
NY MAGAZINE:Â That has really painful implications for atheists. Are you sure thatâ€™s the ÂDevilâ€™s work?
SCALIA:Â I didnâ€™t say atheists are the Devilâ€™s work.
NY MAGAZINE:Â Well, youâ€™re saying the Devil is Âpersuading people to not believe in God. Couldnâ€™t there be other reasons to not believe?
SCALIA:Â Well, there certainly can be other reasons. But it certainly favors the Devilâ€™s desires. I mean, câ€™mon, thatâ€™s the explanation for why thereâ€™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.
NY MAGAZINE:Â Right.
SCALIA:Â What happened to him?
NY MAGAZINE:Â He just got wilier.
SCALIA:Â He got wilier.
That exchange concluded with an apparentlyÂ unhinged Scalia going off on the reporter.
“Youâ€™re looking at me as though Iâ€™m weird,” the now 79-year old Roman Catholic conservative jurist cried. “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! Itâ€™s in the Gospels! You travel in circles that are so,Â soÂ 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.”
A 2009 survey by The Barna Group, a Christian polling organization, titled “Most American Christians Do Not Believe that Satan or the Holy Spirit Exist,” disputes Scalia’s claim.
But let’s fast forward to Thursday.
Delivering his speech at his granddaughter’s graduation, Scalia tipped his hand a bit more subtly.
â€œClass of 2015, you should not leave Stone Ridge High School thinking that you face challenges that are at all, in any important sense, unprecedented,â€ Scalia, a bit condescendingly, told the graduating class. â€œHumanity has been around for at least some 5,000 years or so, and I doubt that the basic challenges as confronted are any worse now, or alas even much different, from what they ever were.â€
ThinkProgress’ Ian Millhiser offers an intelligent rebuttalÂ of Scalia’s comments.
“Humanity began to develop much more than 5,000 years ago. Early human ancestors began to diverge from the chimpanzee lineage about six million years ago. The first members of the speciesÂ Homo sapiensÂ are believed to haveÂ lived in Africa about 100,000 years ago, and cave paintings and other evidence of human culture exist that are believed to have been created 50,000 years ago.”
Young earth creationists generally believe thatÂ God created the earth within the last 10,000 years. This is aÂ fringe view, however, within Scaliaâ€™s Catholic faith.
Should it trouble Americans that several of our Supreme Court justices, like Scalia â€“Â who are determining the long-term direction of our nation â€“Â are of a mind that is so far removed from today’s America, from science, from the Internet, from the day-to-day lives of average Americans who neither believeÂ in the devil nor believeÂ dinosaurs roamed the earth with man?
Here’s Scalia’s speech:
Image: Screenshot via myMCMedia/YouTube
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Just 9 Republicans Joined Democrats to Uphold the Rule of Law and Vote to Hold Steve Bannon in Criminal Contempt
Only nine House Republicans joined with every Democrat in voting to hold Trump ally Steve Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress. Thursday afternoon’s final vote was 229-202.
— CSPAN (@cspan) October 21, 2021
Bannon refused to obey a lawful congressional subpoena ordering him to hand over documents and to submit to congressional investigators for a deposition. His legal defense was mocked by experts after he tried to invoke executive privilege.
BREAKING: The House has adopted the bipartisan H.Res.730, finding Stephen K. Bannon in contempt of Congress for failure to comply with a Congressional subpoena. The Speaker of the House will send the report to the Department of Justice for prosecution.
— January 6th Committee (@January6thCmte) October 21, 2021
Minority Whip Steve Scalise had directed House Republicans to vote against the motion.
Top voting rights attorney Marc Elias warns against praising the nine Republicans for doing the right thing in this one instance: “all nine of them voted against voting rights legislation,” he tweeted.
Before anyone praises them, all nine of them voted against voting rights legislation. https://t.co/QMFsczUgjk
— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) October 21, 2021
‘Act of War’: Trump Blasted for ‘Chilling’ Statement Calling Election an ‘Insurrection’
Donald Trump, the twice-impeached former president, on Thursday issued what is being called a “chilling” statement on the election and the insurrection he incited.
“The insurrection took place on November 3, Election Day. January 6 was the Protest!” Trump said in a statement released Thursday afternoon.
Former Republican Congressman Joe Walsh simply and clearly calls it an “act of war.”
This statement is an act of war against America. ANY Republican who does not publicly rebuke this statement must be defeated. ANY Republican. pic.twitter.com/mVAsPXkqGK
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) October 21, 2021
U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) during debate on the House floor has “repeatedly” been “calling on Republicans to denounce the Trump statement,” according to reporter Jamie Dupree.
“All my colleagues were elected on November 3,” McGovern said. “If you believe that Election Day was an insurrection, then your election results are illegitimate.”
McGovern is not the only one to blast the Trump statement:
In debate on the January 6 investigation today on the House floor, Democrats are repeatedly bringing up this new statement from Donald Trump. Rep. Jim Clyburn D-SC says the “Big Lie” is just like the “Lost Cause” after the Civil War. pic.twitter.com/NDNHdjKrYq
— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) October 21, 2021
Some journalists are also slamming the former president’s latest remarks.
S.V. Dáte, the White House correspondent at HuffPost weighed in, saying, “Donald Trump tried to overthrow American democracy after he lost his election by 7 million votes, but nearly a year later, he’s still lying. About all of it.”
Washington Post national political reporter Felicia Sonmez called it a “chilling statement … that makes clear his stance on peaceful democracy vs. violent insurrection.”
Washington Post White House bureau chief Ashley Parker pointed to the statement and said: “In which Trump’s shamelessness continues to be his political super power.”
ProPublica Senior Reporter Peter Elkind says: “This is the position of the widely embraced leader of the GOP. Republicans all behind that?”
A former president of the United States who took an oath to uphold the US Constitution: “The insurrection took place on November 3, Election Day. January 6 was the Protest!” #DonaldTrump #ThisIsGoingWell NB: almost no evidence of voter fraud has been uncovered or confirmed.
— Priscilla Huff (@phuffdaddy) October 21, 2021
Watch: Garland Destroys GOP Congressman’s False Suggestion His School Board Memo Calls Parents Terrorists
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland Thursday morning was forced to respond to repeated Republican false claims about his memo directing the DOJ to hold “discussions” with local leaders about threats of violence made against school board members, and several times had to push back hard against false accusations made by GOP Congressmen.
Franklin Graham, Stephen Miller, and countless others on the right for weeks have been falsely claiming that Garland has ordered DOJ to investigate parents merely for opposing school board decisions, mostly on mask mandates and what they claim is “critical race theory.”
U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) on Wednesday during a Judiciary Committee hearing falsely suggested Garland was calling parents’ challenging school boards domestic terrorists.
“One example of a so-called terrorist incident was a parent, merely questioning whether school board members had earned their high school diplomas. Now that might have been rude, but does that seem like an act of domestic terrorism that you or your Justice Department ought to be investigating?” Chabot asked.
“Absolutely not,” Garland replied. “And I want to be clear the Justice Department supports and defends the First Amendment right of parents to complain as vociferously as they wish, about the education of their children, about the curriculum taught in the schools. That is not what the memorandum is about at all, nor does it use the words ‘domestic terrorism’ or ‘Patriot Act.’ Like you, I can’t imagine any circumstance in which the Patriot Act would be used in the circumstances of parents complaining about their children, nor can I imagine a circumstance where they would be labeled as domestic terrorism.”
As NCRM has previously reported, school board members and educators in at least nine states this year have been targeted with threats, death threats, and often racist death threats, including in Virginia, Arizona, Connecticut, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Vermont, according to local news reports.
Ironically, it was Congressman Chabot who, a decade ago, was legitimately accused of violating the First Amendment when his staffers directed local police to confiscate video cameras at the Congressman’s town hall event, held in a public school.
Chabot, ruffled and rebuffed by Garland’s response, decided to end the inquiry there.
“Thank you I’m nearly out of time.”
Garland: That is not what the memorandum is about at all nor does it use the word domestic terrorism or patriot act pic.twitter.com/6vJqDDPcBf
— Acyn (@Acyn) October 21, 2021
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