Friday, June 29, 2012

Republicans Appeal DOMA Ruling To SCOTUS

As expected, the Republicans who control the U.S. House of Representatives have appealed to the United States Supreme Court to overturn the recent unanimous ruling from the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Gill v. Office of Personnel Management striking down the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional. The organization paying for the appeal is the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), which consists of the 5 highest ranked members of Congress. Curious they made their decision to file for certiorari late on the last Friday in June, eh?

Anyway, as usual Chris Geidner has the deets:
In a filing obtained by Metro Weekly, BLAG asks the Supreme Court, which must agree to consider the case, to take the appeal for three reasons: (1) the constitutionality of DOMA Section 3 is "an issue of great national importance" and raises separation-of-powers questions; (2) the First Circuit decision conflicts with the Supreme Court's 1972 decision in Baker v. Nelson and other appellate decisions; and (3) the First Circuit "invented a new standard of equal protection review."  
In the course of the filing, called a petition for a writ of certiorari, BLAG states that "[t]he executive branch has ... abdicated its traditional role of defending the constitutionality of duly-enacted statutes."
It should be fascinating to see whether the Supreme Court will decide to accept case (which is expected) and how they will deal with the 40-year-old case of Baker v. Nelson which was decided when no state had legalized marriage equality and no court had ever found a constitutional right to marry included same-sex couples or even that LGBT people had any kind of constitutional protections at all.

Soon the heterosexual supremacists defending Proposition 8 will also have to decide whether they will appeal their federal appellate court loss to the United States Supreme Court. If SCOTUS accepts both, then there will be two blockbuster gay rights cases (both dealing with marriage equality in two very different contexts) in the 2012-13 term.

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