06/26/2015 02:50 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Justice Roberts Needs a History Tutor

In his dissent today against the 5-4 decision making marriage legal for gay men and lesbians everywhere across the United States, Justice Roberts issued this appeal to historical precedent:

The majority's decision is an act of will, not legal judgment. The right it announces has no basis in the Constitution or this Court's precedent.

As a result, the Court invalidates the marriage laws of more than half the States and orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs. Just who do we think we are?

My response is: Wutt? He's name-checking the Aztecs? What about their human sacrifice? I thought American jurisprudence relied on the Magna Carta when it reached back into the past, and never reached into somebody's chest cavity for their beating heart.


If that wasn't freaky enough, Roberts dragged in ancient Carthage. Well, that city-state's famous Queen Dido married her uncle--isn't that considered incest in many American states? And Carthaginians practiced child sacrifice. That's right. New discoveries confirm that graphic Roman accounts of Carthaginian child sacrifice weren't fiction. So when Diodorus wrote the following, the exact details might have been off, but the reality wasn't: "There was in their city a bronze image of Cronus, extending its hands, palms up and sloping towards the ground, so that each of the children when placed thereon rolled down and fell into a sort of gaping pit filled with fire."


Gaping pit of fire. Sounds like a dose of Scalia dissents. But I digress. Let me leave you with a delicious irony from an article in The Washington Post which I read after originally posting this blog the day of the ruling. It further proves Roberts's ignorance:

During the Han dynasty, the ancient lineage of kings that gives the Han their name, homosexuality was rife. Almost all the emperors -- you know, the lawgivers of the land -- of the Western Han dynasty apparently had same-sex lovers.

Justice Roberts, I have one word of advice for you: Google.

Lev Raphael latest book is a suspense novel about police militarization and was a finalist for a Midwest Book Award: Assault With a Deadly Lie.

(revised 6/28/15)