November 2011 Church & State | People & Events

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told supporters of a Catholic university in Pennsylvania that they should resist political correctness and a “distorted view of diversity” during a September speech.

Addressing attendees at an event marking the 100th anniversary of Duquesne University Law School in Pittsburgh, the ultra-conservative justice asserted that “moral judgment” is in peril in America.

“Our educational establishment these days, while so tolerant of and even insistent upon diversity in all other aspects of life, seems bent on eliminating diversity of moral judgment – particularly moral judgment based on religious views,” Scalia opined.

He added, “I hope this place will not yield – as some Catholic institutions have – to this politically correct insistence upon suppression of moral judgment, to this distorted view of what diversity in America means.”

Scalia also told the crowd, “The Rule of Law is second only to the Rule of Love. The here and now is less important than the hereafter.”

But Scalia also might have made a tactical misstep. During his remarks, he discussed a controversy at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., where a D.C. resident is suing over the school’s new ban on coed dorms, claiming it violates D.C.’s Human Rights Act.

The case is pending in the courts, and the man who brought it, George Washington University Law School Professor John Banzhaf, told The Wall Street Journal he was “astonished that a justice of the nation’s highest court would single out and pre-judge a legal proceeding which could set an important precedent, and could one day even come before the U.S. Supreme Court.”

If that happens, it won’t be the first time for Scalia. In 2003, Scalia had to recuse himself from a case challenging “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance because he had earlier given a speech to a Knights of Columbus rally in Virginia during which he mentioned the Pledge and asserted that the Framers of the Constitution didn’t intend to “exclude God from the public forums and from political life.”