01/02/2014 01:32 pm ET Updated Mar 04, 2014

The Devil Made Me Do It

In an interview in New York magazine earlier this year, Justice Antonin Scalia revealed that, not only did he believe in the Devil, but he thought most Americans did too. It turns out Scalia not only believes in the Devil, but meets with him at the end of every year. This meeting took place on Christmas Eve, 2013.

The Devil: How's your Originalism project working out this year? You know I love it when judges in the present make decisions based on the world as it existed 225 years ago when people owned slaves and women couldn't vote. Gives me the warm and fuzzies.

Scalia: I made a really big move and rejected my old "feint-hearted" originalism and now I believe in it all the way down, I mean ALL the way down. Like Clarence.

The Devil: Excellent, so flogging might stage a comeback? You know how much I love flogging.

Scalia: Well, I don't think it will happen, but I won"t cast a judicial vote stopping it.

The Devil: Nice, talk to me about voting.

Scalia: Things moving well. After we gutted the Voting Right Act, some of our friends down south, if you know what I mean, got going passing laws making it harder for, you know, certain people to vote. These laws require hard to get photo ID's, and they closed the polls during convenient times, all the good stuff.

The Devil: Great, you know how much I hate universal suffrage. Makes me see red.

Scalia: I know, that's why I threw in that line at the oral argument about voting rights being "racial entitlements."

The Devil: That was a beautiful touch. You guys are going to keep upholding voter ID laws right. I saw that Judge Posner said he might have been wrong the first time around.

Scalia: Don't worry about Posner. He may be much smarter than I am but I get to review his decisions.

The Devil: OK, how close are we to getting rid of all those campaign finance laws. If I've told you once I've told you an infinite number of times, let my boys make unlimited donations and I'll spend the big guy upstairs out of existence.

Scalia: We are close. We heard an Alabama case this fall where we can start chipping away at the donation restrictions. Just keep us together a few more years and every one will be able to line the pockets of anyone they want for as much as they want to. You know John likes taking the long view and playing the long game. It worked with voting rights.

The Devil: All right, now, about legislative prayers. You have not been taking my side on this issue. I want that "Christ" stuff out of the government once and for all. That town council in Greece, New York prayed to Christ for eight years in a row!

Scalia: Any chance we can agree to disagree on this one.

The Devi: No.

Scalia: OK, try this. If we allow some of the legislative prayers but not all of them, then there will be fighting, and litigating, and people walking out of government meetings, and all kinds of religious strife. That's good right?

The Devil: I like strife.

Scalia: If we just said no prayers at all then all that delicious acrimony would stop. Of course, we could require a moment of silence. Legally speaking, that's obviously the right answer.

The Devil: Yes, yes, give religion a huge kick in the ass! Deliver us from those prayers!

Scalia: You really want to make martyrs out of all those politicians who want to pray? How did that work out last time? The backlash wouldn't be pretty.

The Devil: I hate arguing with lawyers.

Scalia: And, I'm the best there's ever been.

The Devil: What else did you do for me last year?

Scalia: You know how I always tell you that sometimes subtle and quiet is better than fiery and loud.

The Devil: I hate it when you tell me that.

Scalia: This year, while everyone was talking about voting rights, same-sex marriage , and affirmative action, we decided two cases making it much harder for people who were discriminated against to get money for their injuries. It was a stroke of genius. Most people still haven't heard of these cases but they definitely make the poor poorer and the rich richer, just as you like it.

The Devil: Almost makes me smile. You know how much I hate anything that equalizes people.

Scalia: I know, I know. Look I have done everything I can to make sure the Equal Protection Clause helps those who need it the least. I even made it clear this year that I don't think women are covered by it. How cool is that?

The Devil: Can we repeal your 19th Amendment?

Scalia: Sorry, that's outside my pay grade.

The Devil: OK, I have been hearing a lot about this same-sex marriage thing. It feels like it is the story of the year.

Scalia: I know I am really sorry. I have failed you.

The Devil: What?

Scalia: Well I know you hate compassion.

The Devil: I do.

Scalia: And you hate treating people fairly.

The Devil: Makes me puke.

Scalia: And, the whole equality thing again.

The Devil: Really gets my goat.

Scalia: We can't win them all.

The Devil: You misunderstand me.

Scalia: I do?

The Devil: I hate compassion, fairness, and equality, but there's one thing I hate even more.

Scalia: Really, there is?

The Devil: Nino, who is the strongest opponent of same-sex marriage? Who believes it is a sin for a man to lie with a man? Who puts up the money to fight all those equality amendments? Who?

Scalia: (Pointing to the sky). HIM?

The Devil: Well, maybe not HIM, but those who claim to be following HIM.

Scalia: Got it.

The Devil: What's cooking next year.

Scalia: Well, you know there are all these companies seeking religious exemptions to Obamacare and ...


Scalia: I know, I know, hey I tried to get rid of them years ago remember. I said our First Amendment does not give people the right to such exemptions. I said it clearly and I said it loudly. Don't blame me that Congress passed a law giving out religious exemptions like candy. Maybe you should be talking to people on that side of Capitol Hill?

The Devil: You think I don't?

Scalia: OK, well I also know how much you hate universal health care so there are also some cases saying Obamacare started in the wrong house of Congress and therefore violates the Constitution all because John called it a tax. You know, in theory, all tax laws have to start in the House but Obamacare started in the Senate so maybe we can strike it down on those grounds.

The Devil: Brilliant!

Scalia: Like I said the Chief likes the long game.

The Devil: I need to meet him. See you next year!

The author is a constitutional law professor who for purposes of this piece goes by the name of Screwtape.