Philadelphia Inquirer: Scalia opines on faith and justice

Devout U.S. Catholics like himself may stand apart from much of the nation on abortion, homosexuality, and embryonic stem-cell research, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told a packed audience at Villanova University yesterday, but he insisted “there is no such thing as a ‘Catholic judge.’ ”
“The bottom line is that the Catholic faith seems to me to have little effect on my work as a judge,” he declared.

Invited to speak to that very question – “the role of Catholic faith in the work of a judge” – the famously opinionated justice rendered his decision just three minutes into his keynote lecture at Villanova Law School’s annual Scarpa conference on law, politics and culture.

“Just as there is no ‘Catholic’ way to cook a hamburger,” he said to a murmur of laughter, “I am hard-pressed to tell you of a single opinion of mine that would have come out differently if I were not Catholic.”

Read it all.


Posted in * Culture-Watch, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

One comment on “Philadelphia Inquirer: Scalia opines on faith and justice

  1. William P. Sulik says:

    I want to address J. Scalia’s comments later, but something the reporter, David O’Reilly, wrote drives me crazy:

    [blockquote] Nonetheless, he continued, his Catholic faith obliges him to abide by two “commands” in his life and his work as a judge.

    ” ‘Be thou perfect as thy heavenly Father is perfect.’ And ‘Thou shalt not lie,’ ” he said.

    [b]Those principles, he said, call him to be a strict constructionist of the law[/b], one who does not “distort prior cases” or the Constitution in order to assert that certain rights are guaranteed under law.[/blockquote]

    I wager O’Reilly just made up the emphasized portion — I’ve heard Scalia speak and I’ve read a number of his speeches and he is constantly emphasizing that he is not a “strict constructionist.”

    See, for example, this (from here: )

    [blockquote]I am one of a small number of judges, small number of anybody — judges, professors, lawyers — who are known as originalists. Our manner of interpreting the Constitution is to begin with the text, and to give that text the meaning that it bore when it was adopted by the people. I’m not a “strict constructionist,” despite the introduction. I don’t like the term “strict construction.” I do not think the Constitution, or any text should be interpreted either strictly or sloppily; it should be interpreted reasonably. Many of my interpretations do not deserve the description “strict.” I do believe, however, that you give the text the meaning it had when it was adopted. [/blockquote]

    O’Reilly is sloppy and is making something up. It would be like Kendall being written up in a newspaper thus, “Harmon said those principles require him to be a fundamentalist…”