Maureen McCarthy Scalia, the widow of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, will be a guest of President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump during the president’s address to Congress on Tuesday, the White House says.
Antonin Scalia, 79, died last February. Trump called Maureen Scalia on the anniversary of her husband’s death, and mentioned her while naming Judge Neal Gorsuch as his nominee to replace Justice Scalia on the bench. She was in attendance during the announcement and met with Gorsuch.
“She is really the ultimate representation of the late, great Justice Antonin Scalia, whose image and genius was in my mind throughout the decision-making process,” Trump said of Maureen Scalia.
Here’s what you need to know about Maureen Scalia:
1. They Met on a Blind Date While He Was at Harvard in 1960 & Married That Same Year
Antonin Scalia met Maureen McCarthy in 1960 when he was a student at Harvard Law School, according to Bruce Allen Murphy’s biography of the Supreme Court Justice, “Scalia: A Court of One.”
They were married in September of that same year.
“They jokingly referred to it as a ‘mixed marriage’ because he was of Italian descent while her ancestors were Irish,” Murphy wrote.
Scalia said and his new wife traveled all over Europe during the first year of marriage.
He said, “Actually, the main reason she married me was that, after graduation, I had a Sheldon Fellowship. Under this traveling fellowship, Harvard gives you money to travel with virtually no strings attached, with one exception. You cannot enroll for any degree in any university, which after seven years of college and law school was the farthest thing from my mind!”
Both McCarty and Scalia were raised and lived as devout Catholics.
2. She Graduated From Radcliffe College With an English Degree
Maureen McCarthy Scalia was a student at Radcliffe College, also located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, when she met her husband, a Harvard Law school student, according to the Washington Post.
She graduated from Radcliffe with a degree in English.
The Scalias told 60 Minutes they rarely disagree.
“She says she could have married so-and-so …,” Antonin Scalia joked during the 2008 interview. “And of course the reason she didn’t was that ‘so-and-so [was] wishy-washy.'”
“This is absolutely true. He will say, ‘You would have been bored.’ I say, ‘Oh, that’s right!’ I would have been bored,” Maureen Scalia said. “I would have been bored.”
3. She & Her Husband Raised 5 Sons & 4 Daughters
Antonin and Maureen Scalia raised nine children, five sons and four daughters, whom they have described as “all conservative” and all “successful.”
Their sons are named Eugene, John, Paul, Matthew and Christopher. Their daughters are Ann, Catherine, Mary and Margaret.
“Well, we didn’t set out to have nine children. We’re just old-fashioned Catholics, you know? Playing what used to be known as ‘Vatican roulette,'” Antonin Scalia joked to 60 Minutes in 2008.
“Well, as someone said, they’re both overachievers, I guess,” Maureen Scalia joked.
Their children include two lawyers, an Army major, a poet and a priest.
“If in an old-fashioned Catholic family with five sons you don’t get one priest out of it, we’re in big trouble, right?” Scalia joked to 60 Minutes. “I will say that the other four were very happy when Paul announced that he was going to take one for the team. I don’t know.”
The Scalias also have several grandchildren.
4. She Went to Her Kids’ Soccer Games & Other Events While Her Husband Worked
Antonin Scalia told 60 Minutes in 2008 that he never attended his children’s soccer games or other events because of work. He said Maureen Scalia was devoted to attending everything their children did.
“You know, my parents never did it for me,” Antonin Scalia said. “And I didn’t take it personally. ‘Oh Daddy, come to my softball game.’ No, I mean, it’s my softball game. He has his work. I got my softball game. Of course, she was very loyal. She went to all the games.”
5. She Has Been Involved With Anti-Abortion Groups
Maureen Scalia’s work as an anti-abortion advocate and pro-life counselor created some controversy in 2014, as some called for her husband to recuse himself from abortion-related cases.
According to Salon.com, Maureen Scalia was a board member of the Nurturing Network, a crisis pregnancy organization.
“I have been moved by the courage of so many who in their loneliness struggle to protect the life they nurture within. Serving on the Board of the Nurturing Network is the culmination of my experience in working to protect and defend life,” her page on the organization’s website said before it was taken down, according to the Free Thought Project.
She also has been a “sidewalk counselor” outside of abortion clinics, according to Jezebel.