A guy yells "homosexuality is an abomination!" in the SCOTUS today and Scalia says "[That] was rather refreshing." Um... what?
— Dan Savage (@fakedansavage) April 28, 2015
Yesterday it looked like I was only person appalled by Justice Scalia's "refershing" response to the heckler who interrupted arguments about same-sex marriage—but I wasn't alone, as it turns out. Jeffrey Toobin:
There was a shocking, ugly moment during the argument of Obergefell v. Hodges, the same-sex marriage case, in the Supreme Court on Tuesday. Right after Mary Bonauto, the lawyer challenging marriage bans in several states, completed her argument, a spectator rose from a back row and started screaming, “If you support gay marriage, you will burn in Hell!” As the man yelled, “It’s an abomination!,” guards carried him from the courtroom.
That wasn’t the ugly part, though. In the quiet moment after the man was removed, as his shouts vanished into the hallway, Justice Antonin Scalia filled the silence with a quip. “It was rather refreshing, actually,” he said.
It may have been just a joke from the senior Associate Justice on the Court, but what kind of joke—or was it really a joke at all? Scalia probably did think that the directness of the protester was bracing—“refreshing.” Indeed, there’s every reason to believe that Scalia more or less shared the protester’s view of the immorality of homosexuality, and that he regards the Court’s toleration of gay people as one of the great disasters of his nearly three decades as a Justice.
Exactly. When Scalia said "refreshing, what he meant was this: "Finally! Someone said what I believe and what wish I could say—homosexuality is an abomination—and what I would say if evidence of anti-gay bias didn't help the pro-marriage-equality side." It was heartening to see Toobin call on Scalia on it.