Tuesday, May 13, 2014

While Scalia Wonders Why There Aren't More Jews In Church

In an interview published last October in New York magazine, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia revealed that he and his wife "get" The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Times, but no longer the Washington Post because it "became so shrilly, shrilly liberal."

And he gets "most of my news, probably" on the radio, largely from talk radio.  He loves Bill Bennett's program because Bennett is a friend and the "program is very thoughtful" with "good callers."

Evidently, though, Scalia has never called into the program.  He said as much, telling reporter Jennifer Senior "I think they keep off stupid people."

That would include Justice Scalia.  And no, not because he's a right-winger or gets confused about cases but because Antonin Scalia is truly ignorant.  It doesn't make it any better that it was over four years ago when Slate's legal correspondent Dahlia Lithwick wrote

There's just one person at oral argument in Salazar v. Buono this morning who really wants to talk about whether a 5-foot cross on federal government land in the Mojave National Preserve violates the Constitution's Establishment Clause. But Justice Antonin Scalia really, really wants to talk about it. He looks particularly queasy when Peter Eliasberg—the ACLU lawyer whose client objects to crosses on government land—suggests partway through the morning that perhaps a less controversial World War I memorial might consist of "a statue of a soldier which would honor all of the people who fought for America in World War I and not just the Christians."

"The cross doesn't honor non-Christians who fought in the war?" Scalia asks, stunned.

"A cross is the predominant symbol of Christianity, and it signifies that Jesus is the son of God and died to redeem mankind for our sins,: replies Eliasberg, whose father and grandfather are both Jewish war veterans.

"It's erected as a war memorial!" replies Scalia.  "I assume it is erected in honor of all of the war dead. The crosss is the most common symbol of... of... of the resting places of the dead."

Eliasberg dares the to correct him: "Th cross is the most common symbol of the resting place of Christains. I have been in Jewish cemeteries. There is never a cross on a tombstone of a Jew.'\"

"I don't think you can leap from that to the conclusion that the only war dead the cross honors are the Christtian war dead," thunders Scalia.  "I think that's an outrageous conclusion!"

Far less outrageous is the conclusion that religious symbols are not religious.

Not surprisingly, the High Court decided against Frank Buono, who had sought to prevent permanent display of the cross (from Slate, pictured below) and theological scholar Scalia was part of the five-vote majority.  Also not surprising is that Antonin Scalia, reportedly a devout Roman Catholic, once claimed "the most disreputable area of our laws is the establishment clause."  That perspective is par for the course for a guy who, at well over the age of 70, had to be told what the cross symbolizes for Christians.

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