Before he served on the Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia was a Boy Scout

Antonin Scalia, the U.S. Supreme Court justice who died Saturday, was a Cub Scout, Boy Scout and a member of the Order of the Arrow.

CBS Sunday Morning and other outlets have been sharing the photo above (and at the end of this post), which depicts a young Scalia in his Boy Scout uniform. He’s wearing the unmistakable white sash indicating his membership in the Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s national honor society.

In Bruce Allen Murphy’s biography, Scalia: A Court of One, Murphy writes that it was Scalia’s mother who taught him life lessons. For young Antonin, those lessons began in Cub Scouts.

“[My mother made] sure I did the right things, hung out with the right people, joined the right organizations … [and] associated with young people that would not get me into trouble, but rather would make me a better person,” he recalled. “She made it her job to know who I was hanging out with. We had them over to my house, and she was a den mother for the Cub Scouts, things of that sort.”

Eventually, Murphy writes, Scalia crossed over into Boy Scouting and “attended Boy Scout camp every summer.”

Scalia was not the only former Scout on the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Stephen Breyer is a Distinguished Eagle Scout, and Justice Anthony Kennedy was a Boy Scout as a young man.



  1. He would have been in Greater NY Council. Most likely went to Alpine Scout Camp, Sanita Hills, and Ten Mile River and member of Suanhacky Lodge #49.

  2. Do we know what rank he left Scouting with? He would have to at least be a First Class Scout in order to meet requirements to become an Arrowman; the question is, Star or Life Scout?

    (If the Justice is an Eagle Scout, we all would have known about it by now… so he had to be either Star Scout or Life Scout before he left Scouting as a youth.)

  3. He was a member of Troop 17 in Elmhurst…….Ralph DeFalco, Scoutmaster for 62 years knows a lot about him and can be contacted thru Troop 17’s facebook page. He was 7 years before me so I didn’t know him but heard he was a great hockey player.

  4. Yes, my name is Ralph De Falco and I was one of his Assistant Scdoutmasters from the day he joined in 1948 until January of 1949 when I becames the Explorer Advisor of Explorer Outfit 17 which was newly formed at that time. Nino became a member of the older group when he turned 15 and was qualified. He did go to Ten Mile River Camp during 1948 and 1949 when the Scoutmaster was Lawrence Joseph Crockett who later became the President of the International Torrey Botanical Society for two terms. Larry got his interest in Botany by identifying Trees for Scout Requirements and he was also a Professor of Botany at Columia University and CCNY. Antonin became a Star Scout and went to the 1950 National Jamboree with his buddy John Guest. The group pIcture from the Jamboree was on the front page of the NY Daily News in 1986 when Nino was nominated to the Court, The picture was the official Group Photo of the boys and Leaders who represented the District at the camporee held that year at Valley Forge. We do have records of the over 1,600 boys who have been members of Troop 17 through their 100 years.
    Ralph De Falco

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