Scalia: Orgies Ought to be Encouraged

Orgies are the way to ease social tensions, claims US judge (Guardian)

He is the conservative bastion of the US supreme court, a favourite of President Bush, and a hunting partner of the vice-president. He has argued vociferously against abortion rights, and in favour of anti-sodomy laws. But it turns out that there is another side to Justice Antonin Scalia: he thinks Americans ought to be having more orgies. Challenged about his views on sexual morality, Justice Scalia surprised his audience at Harvard University, telling them: “I even take the position that sexual orgies eliminate social tensions and ought to be encouraged.”

It seems unlikely that this is what President Bush meant when he promised to appoint more judges like Scalia to the court, should the opportunity arise. Crucially, Justice Scalia is one of the judges in favour of overturning Roe v Wade, the landmark judgment protecting abortion as a constitutional right.

One audience member also asked the judge “whether you have any gay friends, and, if not, whether you’d like to be my friend,” the Harvard Crimson newspaper reported. “I probably do have some gay friends, but I have never pressed the point,” Justice Scalia responded. He offered no clue to the logic behind his claim that orgies eliminate social tensions.

Lord only knows. My understanding is that Scalia’s views here are mere dicta; it would take the concurrence of four more Justices to make orgies mandatory.

Update (1751): Supreme Court justice gets racy on talk circuit (SF Chronicle – AP)

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s recent speeches have ventured into some surprising territory, with the staunchly conservative father of nine joking about sexual orgies. Scalia is known for a biting humor and is entertaining on the talk circuit and on the bench during the court’s argument sessions. He raised some eyebrows with a speech this week at Harvard University, however, with a comment about the number of people needed for group sex and the jest that “sexual orgies eliminate social tensions and ought to be encouraged.”

He made a similar remark in a speech Sept. 20 in Washington, to chuckles from the crowd at the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center, while making the point that judges can have personal moral judgments. It is not judges’ role to impose them on citizens, he said. “Let me make it clear that the problem I am addressing is not the social evil of the judicial dispositions I have described. I accept, for the sake of argument, for example, that sexual orgies eliminate social tension and ought to be encouraged,” Scalia said with a smile.


According to The Harvard Crimson newspaper, Scalia ridiculed a European court decision that struck down British legislation barring group gay sex on the ground that the law intruded upon private life. He asked rhetorically and very much tongue-in-cheek how many people it takes for such sex. “Presumably it is some number between five and the number of people required to fill the Coliseum,” Scalia said, according to the newspaper.

(via Drudge)

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Bithead says:

    I think you missed the sound of his tounge popping in his cheek, James. This is so far off what we know of the man, I have to wonder oif the context of this remark didn’t support his statement a little differently.

  2. Bithead says:

    Ummm… oops… “You” in the editorial sense.

  3. Eric says:

    Perhaps what he really wants are more invitations to orgies.

  4. Ugh says:

    He’s been known to make strange comments, likely this was one of those and a poor attempt at a joke.

  5. legion says:

    I think it’s reverse psychology. Just the thought of running into Scalia, buck nekkid, would keep me from going to an orgy. If I were invited to one.

    Would it have to be an orgy in a duck-hunting blind? With Dick Cheney?

    I have to go scrub my brain out now…