Okay, okay, that's not what the whole interview is about—it's also about Seinfeld! Asked about popular entertainment, Scalia says: "I loved Seinfeld. In fact, I got some CDs of Seinfeld." But it's the Devil stuff I can't get out of my head. Just imagine being Jennifer Senior, conducting this interview, trying to ask a question about Scalia's drafting process, when Scalia interrupts and leans in and starts stage-whispering about the Devil. Here's the lead up:
You believe in heaven and hell?
Oh, of course I do. Don’t you believe in heaven and hell?
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.
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.
The interviewer clarifies that Scalia thinks the reason the Devil has stopped possessing people and making pigs run off cliffs is because the Devil has gotten "wilier." Then she asks:
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.
Then they move on to rabbit hunting, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, dinner parties, John Paul Stevens, law schools, heroic decisions (his most "heroic" decision was not recusing himself from a case involving his friend Dick Cheney), and whether Scalia will know when he's losing it ("Oh, I’ll know"). You ought to read the whole thing.