Most of us care far too much about what other people think of us; it's hard not to admire people who manage to give no shits at all about being popular, respected, well-liked, admired, and so on. Of course we all claim that we don't care what anyone else thinks, but on the inside…it matters. No one, for example, really wants to be known as the world's biggest asshole. At most, we want the cachet that comes from being hated by the right people.
I can't figure out if the right-wing voting bloc on the current Supreme Court is delusional or just the four coolest, most completely over-it dudes on the planet. It takes a special kind of not giving a shit to willingly play the role of the villain like this. I mean, they can't be delusional enough to think that in two or three decades people will be looking back and admiring the courageous stand they took against…the Voting Rights Act, or gay marriage, or child labor laws, or whatever puppy they decide to kick in a given term. Surely they have to know that when the movies are made, they're going to be the Bad Guys.
Scalia in particular has turned himself into Cruella DeVille over the last few years. Does he believe that future generations will look at him as a hero? I suppose some people will, in the same sense that some people look back at Madison Grant or George Wallace or Joseph McCarthy as heroes. But other than being a perennial favorite to neo-Birchers, evangelical extremists, and the White Power crowd, there won't be many tears shed for Antonin when he departs this mortal coil.
Maybe they already know this. I'm not going to lie – that's almost respectable, in a certain sense. If their beliefs are so strongly held that they're willing to accept their role as the Roger Taneys of the 21st Century, then if nothing else I admire their ability to remain almost completely unaffected by the judgment of others. They must have extremely high self esteem, or something. Maybe they just don't know a losing cause when they see one.