Yesterday, Paul Clement, the $500 per hour lawyer hired by Speaker of the House, John Boehner, to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, (DOMA) from all challenges, filed his brief with the Supreme Court in the case of Edith Windsor V US. Clement urged the Supreme Court not to take action in the case, because the struggle for marriage equality is doing just fine without their help.
The House has appropriated 3 million taxpayer dollars to retain Clement, because the Obama Justice Department refuses to defend the onerous law, which reserves the rights and benefits of marriage to heterosexual couples. The Court has announced it will hear oral arguments in the case in March.
Of special interest in the 60 page brief, is a section in which Clement suggests the gay community does not need relief from the courts because they have been successful at changing many states’ discriminatory laws on their own. Clement suggests the courts should allow the battle for gay equality to be fought through the legislative process, and not ruled on arbitrarily by the Court.
From the brief:
<<…gays and lesbians are one of the most influential, best-connected, best-funded, and best organized interest groups in modern politics, and have attained more legislative victories, political power, and popular favor in less time than virtually any other group in American history…>>
<<Gays and lesbians not only have the attention of lawmakers, they are winning many legislative battles>>
Clement concludes that the Court should not intervene, but that the issue of marriage equality:
<<should be left for the democratic process”, because “the political strength of gays and lesbians in the political process should be outcome determinative here.>>”
In support of his argument that gays need no intervention from the Court, Clement points out that half the congress did not sign on to protecting DOMA, and that President Obama and Vice President Biden are on record as supporting marriage equality. He also cites the fact that the Senate has a single gay member, as proof the gay community is doing just fine advancing their agenda.
Leaving aside the fact Clement’s argument is not relevant to Edie Windsor’s complaint that she was forced to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars of inheritance taxes other married couples would not have owed, Clement’s brief has left many shaking their heads. The Court should not rule because eventually it will all work out. Really?
A number of parties have joined in Edie Windsor’s suit, including New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and 145 members of the House Democratic Caucus. It will be interesting to see what their response will be to Clement’s suggestion gays are doing so well on their own, they don’t require justice.
Image from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/
We invite you to sign up for our new mailing list, and subscribe to The New Civil Rights Movement via email or RSS.