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Post image for DOMA: Supreme Court Doesn’t Have Jurisdiction, House Doesn’t Have Standing Says SCOTUS Lawyer

DOMA: Supreme Court Doesn’t Have Jurisdiction, House Doesn’t Have Standing Says SCOTUS Lawyer

by David Badash on January 25, 2013

in DOMA,Marriage,News,Politics

In a stunning turn of events, a lawyer appointed by the Supreme Court to determine if the Court has jurisdiction over the DOMA case of Edie Windsor, and if the House of Representatives has standing to defend DOMA, has answered “no” to both questions. The lawyer, Harvard law professor Vicki Jackson, made her case last night.

DOMA, as you know, is the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 that bans the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. Edie Windsor sued the federal government after her wife died and she was forced to pay the IRS over $360,000 in inheritance taxes — because the federal government refused to recognize her legal marriage to her wife.

After President Obama and Attorney General Holder announced they would no longer defend DOMA in court, John Boehner decided the House would, via the BLAG, and has spent upwards of $3 million defending the law many — including dozens of federal court judges — believe is unconstitutional.

Of course, this isn’t the end, but it’s a stunning slap in the face to the House Republicans, the BLAG, and especially John Boehner, whom Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats have demanded stop spending the people’s money defending an unconstitutional law based in anti-gay animus.

Via Buzzfeed

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nwmomma70 January 25, 2013 at 11:02 am

What does this mean for DOMA? Will we have to wait until March to know what the ramifications will be?

sneaks911 January 25, 2013 at 11:10 am

They didn't appoint her to determine if BLAG or DOJ have standing. They appointed to to argue that they don't have standing.

nickvarig January 25, 2013 at 11:34 am

It doesn't matter, I really don't see how can you argue with something like this horrible law that is clearly unconstitutional. Doma days are number.. Bye bye Doma, you won't be missed. Just like that " plain and simple".

twiga_riq January 25, 2013 at 12:08 pm

What am I missing here? Is there a posting of Ms. Jackson's determination publicly available? How can anyone say that SCOTUS does not have jurisdiction regarding Federal law? Isn't the whole idea that this is *the supreme court* of the land?

muungoddess January 26, 2013 at 1:21 am

I think the point is that only aggrieved parties and their opponents can ask SCOTUS to hear a case and the defense must be made by the person who has allegedly used the law to cause the "damage." In this case, it's the obligation of the executive branch of gov't to defend the law, or choose not to. They've chosen not to defend it b/c it would be gross hypocrisy — they don't think the law is constitutional, so they cant, ethically, defend the law. The House of Reps has been trying to defend it, but this opinion, in the form of a brief, indicates that you'd need both houses of Congress to agree and collaborate on that defense, since both houses create the laws to begin with. Since the Senate is staying out of it, according to her argument, the House doesn't have appropriate standing. SCOTUS can't take the case if the parties who are participating and asking SCOTUS to rule on the case are determined not to have the standing to do so. If someone wants to challenge a law, they must first be harmed by the law — you can't just say this is an unfair law and I want to take it to court. And, if you've been convicted unfairly in a lower court and challenge that conviction, the prosecutors (the executive branch) has to go through the entire process to argue its point. If not they don't stay engaged in the process as the case makes it way through the courts, only one side is presented and no one who has the standing to make the opposing argument. All three branches have limited power and authority — SCOTUS's only goes so far.

sirrockman January 25, 2013 at 12:42 pm

This article is misleading and inaccurate. The Court assigned Professor Jackson to make this argument in an "amicus brief," meaning as a friend of the Court. In other words, they asked her to make the most convincing argument she could that the Court does not have the power to rule on the case. It is not binding. She is just making the argument that the House (or BLAAG) cannot defend DOMA, the Obama administration is not defending it, and Edith won in the lower courts, so there is no case or controversy for the Court to hear. The Court asked her to do this.

What the article does not say is that next month the GOP leaders of the House and the Obama Administration will also file briefs arguing what they think. The Court will read all of these and decide what to do, which may be to not hear the case at all.

I hope this clears it up.

For more info:

muungoddess January 26, 2013 at 1:08 am

I don't think it implies that it's binding. The court asked her for her arguments and she provided those arguments. Looking forward to seeing if they'll invite her to provide an oral argument.

Larry Murray January 26, 2013 at 12:00 am

It appears that someone is using the Fox method of reporting instead of setting out the plain facts. Makes me distrust what I read here.

muungoddess January 26, 2013 at 1:24 am

go here for complete text of the brief

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