Justice Antonin Scalia wore a replica of a hat worn by St. Thomas More to the inauguration of Barack Obama at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, in 2013. (AP)
Scalia, who died Saturday at a ranch in West Texas where he was quail hunting, received the sacrament of the anointing of the sick, known colloquially as last rites, from a local priest, the Diocese of El Paso confirmed. The Rev. Mike Alcuino, who serves at a parish and several missions in the diocese, was called to the ranch where Scalia died at age 79.
Born in Trenton, NJ, in 1936, Scalia was a product of Jesuit education, graduating from Xavier High School in New York and Georgetown University in Washington, where he graduated first in his class, before earning his law degree at Harvard University.
He was nominated to the US Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, and in his office he hung a portrait of St. Thomas More, the English Catholic martyr whom John Paul II dubbed the patron saint of statesmen and politicians. At President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2013, Scalia wore a replica of a hat worn by More, revealed to be a gift from St. Thomas More Society of Richmond, Virginia.
In a 2013 interview with New York magazine, Scalia, a strong conservative who railed against abortion and same-sex marriage, was asked about Pope Francis, who had just days before the interview said that the Church needed to shift its focus away from those two issues.
“He’s the Vicar of Christ. He’s the chief. I don’t run down the pope,” Scalia said.