Justice Scalia: When a Hat Might Be More Than Just a Hat


Justice Scalia and Sir Thomas more

Kevin Walsh, associate professor of law at the University of Richmond School of Law, saw the hat Justice Anthony Scalia wore to President Obama’s inaugural and knew its origins.

The hat was a gift from the St. Thomas More Society of Richmond, Va. It is a replica of the hat worn by St. Thomas More in the portrait by Hans Holbein, the Younger, which I posted above. [Christian Post]

So why wear it?

It might have something to do with Sir Thomas More’s martyrdom for religious liberty and the importance of abiding by one’s core values.  It is well known that the president’s stance on religious liberty is to force the churches and orthodox synagogues to abide  by the Obamacare mandate on abortifacients.

I can’t say that I know this is why Justice Scalia wore the hat but one can speculate given the obvious historical reference to Sir Thomas More.

Sir Thomas More caught the attention of King Henry VIII for his exceptional work in the law courts. He was even knighted in 1521; but this is Henry the 8th we are talking about. A series of disagreements with the king and More’s strong defense of religious liberty led him to go up against the king, even refusing to attend the coronation of Anne Boleyn.

More was finally imprisoned due to his objections to Henry VIII’s separation from the Catholic Church and his refusal to take an oath that disparaged the Catholic Church. He was tried and found guilty of treason and decapitated.

More’s final words on the scaffold were: “The King’s good servant, but God’s First.”

More was beatified in 1886 and canonized by the Catholic Church as a saint by Pope Pius XI in 1935.

More was a martyr for his faith.