Breaking: DOMA Declared Unconstitutional Again — By A Bush Appointee
DOMA, the federal Defense of Marriage Act, has yet again been declared unconstitutional by a federal court, marking at least a half-dozen federal courts ruling the 1996 law unconstitutional.
In May,Â DOMA was declared unconstitutional by federal courts twice.
Both President Obama’s Department of Justice and John Boehner’s so-called “Bipartisan” Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) (which Democrats do not support) have petitioned the Supreme Court to rule on DOMA, after a string of seven rulings in a row shaming John Boehner’s hand-picked litigator, PaulÂ Clement. Clement is reportedly being paid up to $1.5 million — your tax dollars — to defend a law deemed unconstitutional every time it’s reached the federal courts. Barack Obama and Eric Holder have also deemed DOMA unconstitutional.
The New York Times in an editorial earlier this month encouraged the Supreme Court to strike down DOMA, which they called a â€œnoxious law.”
Read this (rather lengthy) portion of a press release via GLAD,Â Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders:
Today, a U.S. District Court Judge ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional as a violation of equal protection guarantees. Her ruling comes with respect to claims brought by six married same-sex couples and one widower from the states of Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont who were denied federal tax, social security, pension and family medical leave protections only because they are (or were) married to someone of the same sex. Under the ruling, the plaintiffsâ€™ marriages must be accorded the same federal protections and responsibilities as those of other married couples.
The ruling by Judge Vanessa L. Bryant, an appointee of President George W. Bush, stems from the lawsuit Pedersen et al v. Office of Personnel Management et al, filed by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) in November 2010 in the Federal District Court in Connecticut.
â€œSection 3 of DOMA obligates the federal government to single out a certain category of marriages as excluded from federal recognition,â€ Judge Bryant wrote, â€œthereby resulting in an inconsistent distribution of federal marriage benefits as all marriages authorized by certain states will receive recognition and marital benefits, whereas only a portion of marriages authorized by other states will receive federal recognition and benefits.â€
â€œJudge Bryantâ€™s ruling is very clear: married people are married and should be treated as such by the federal government. There is no legitimate basis for DOMAâ€™s broad disrespect of the marriages of same-sex couples,â€ said Mary L. Bonauto, GLADâ€™s Civil Rights Project Director. â€œWe are very pleased that the Court recognized that DOMAâ€™s creation of second-class marriages harms our clients who simply seek the same opportunities to care and provide for each other and for their children that other families enjoy.â€
â€œIâ€™m thrilled that the court ruled that our marriage commitment should be respected by the federal government just as it is in our home state of Connecticut,â€ said Joanne Pedersen, who is a plaintiff with her spouse, Ann Meitzen. â€œI loved working for the Navy for many years, and now that I am retired I now just want to care for my wife and make sure we can enjoy some happy and healthy years together. DOMA has prevented us from doing that.â€
Pedersen retired from a civilian position with the U.S. Department of the Navy after 30 years, the last 12 as a Special Security Officer for the Office of Naval Intelligence. Because of DOMA, she is unable to cover Ann on her health insurance planâ€”as other federal employees and retirees can. As a result, Ann and Joanne, who are living on fixed incomes, are forced to pay out of pocket for Annâ€™s insurance at significant cost.
The next step in the case is an inevitable appeal of the District Court ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from the interveners in the case â€“ the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) of the U.S. House of Representatives. BLAG intervened to defend DOMA from equal protection challenges after President Obama declared he would no longer defend the law in response to this case and Windsor v. United States. That appeal should come within the next 60 days.
The plaintiffs in the Pedersen case were all qualified for, and applied for, protections available to other married couples, but were denied on the grounds that Section 3 of DOMA requires the federal government not to recognize the existing marriages of same-sex couples. The specific harms include denials of Family Medical Leave Act benefits, federal laws for private pension plans, federal laws concerning state pension plans, federal income taxation, social security benefits, and employment benefits for federal employees and retirees.
Judge Bryantâ€™s ruling continues the momentum building in federal courts across the country â€“ including the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, which ruled against DOMA in our challenge, Gill v. OPM on May 31 â€“ finding Section 3 of the law unconstitutional. On June 6, a New York District Court judge ruled Section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional in the Windsor case. Back in February, a California District Court judge declared DOMA Section 3 unconstitutional as applied to a federal judicial employee in the case Golinski v. OPM.
The Pedersen case could now be joined on appeal with Windsor, in which the ACLU and the law firm Paul Weiss represent Edie Windsor, a widow who had to pay a sizable tax after her spouseâ€™s death. Other cases are pending in other venues addressing health insurance coverage, long term care benefits for state employees, military benefits for active and retired military personnel, National Guard members and veterans.
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'GOOD LUCK WITH THAT'
‘Trying to Have It Both Ways’: Ivanka ‘Flailing’ as Trump Indictment Slams Family
While Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump have taken to their social media platforms to viciously lash out at Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for indicting their father on a reported 30 charges, Ivanka Trump posted a rather muted statement on her Instagram account which simply said, “I love my father, and I love my country. Today, I am pained for both. I appreciate the voices across the political spectrum expressing support and concern.”
According to Daily Beast conservative columnist Matt Lewis, the so-called “First Daughter,” who served in the White House with her father, is trying to stay true to her former president dad, while distancing herself from his legal problems — and it is not going to work for her.
As Lewis put it, Ivanka is “flailing” in her attempts to shed the memory of her participation in the Trump administration that reached its lowest point on Jan. 6 when supporters of Trump stormed the Capitol and sent lawmakers fleeing for their lives.
“It’s hard to argue with anything Ivanka says here, but it is not a statement of moral clarity. Nor is it (conversely) a statement of strong support for her father. She’s flailing and trying to have it both ways,” Lewis wrote before adding, “Now, it’s understandable that a daughter might not want to utterly condemn her father. Further, children are not responsible for their parents’ sins. Except, of course, if you consider the fact that Ivanka served as the primary weapon in the ‘Trump’s not such a belligerent pig as his four decades as a public figure would make you think’ propaganda push.”
RELATED: Trump is so ‘unmoored from reality’ he can’t act as a defense witness: ‘Art of the Deal’ ghostwriter
Noting that Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner — who has baggage of his own — both stuck with Trump in the White House for all four years, Lewis added, “As far as the former first daughter goes, she and her husband might be done with politics, but once you’ve been a party to an administration like Trump’s, it’s going to be a long time before politics is done with them.”
“So, Ivanka, you want to have a seat at the cool apolitical kids’ table? You want to be once again accepted by the socially liberal billionaires’ children you used to go to the Hamptons with and now have Miami Beach playdates with? You want to enjoy the privileges of being a Trump with none of the shame? Good luck with that,” he concluded.
You can read more here.
Dominion Wins ‘Blockbuster Victories’ Against Fox News – Last Legal Issue Will Be Decided by a Jury: Report
Dominion Voting Systems won what are being called “blockbuster victories” Friday afternoon when a judge ruled the company suing Fox News for $1.6 billion in a major defamation lawsuit had met its burden of proof that Rupert Murdoch‘s far-right wing cable channel had repeatedly made false statements.
The final, and likely greatest legal issue Dominion will have to prove will be actual malice. That issue will be decided in a jury trial, Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric M. Davis ruled Friday, according to Law & Crime.
Unlike previous cases, Fox News will reportedly not be able to argue the on-air statements its personalities made were opinion.
CNN legal analyst and Brookings senior fellow Norm Eisen calls Friday’s decision a “huge win for Dominion on their summary judgment motion against Fox News.”
READ MORE: Capitol Police Issue Warning Over Possible Trump Protests ‘Across the Country’
“Dominion won partial summary judgement that what Fox said about them was false! Now they just have to prove actual malice and damages,” Eisen says. “Meanwhile Fox’s motion was totally denied.”
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, an MSNBC contributor adds: “Dominion’s evidence Fox made false statements with reckless disregard is as strong as any I’ve seen.”
The judge was very clear in his ruling.
“While the Court must view the record in the light most favorable to Fox, the record does not show a genuine issue of material fact as to falsity,” Judge Davis wrote. “Through its extensive proof, Dominion has met its burden of showing there is no genuine issue of material fact as to falsity. Fox therefore had the burden to show an issue of material fact existed in turn. Fox failed to meet its burden.”
READ MORE: ‘Propaganda Network’: Media Reporter Says Dominion Filing Exposes Fox News as ‘Void of the Most Basic Journalistic Ethics’
Attorney and MSNBC host and legal analyst Katie Phang points to this key passage in Judge Davis’ ruling.
Dominion has won the argument on the issue of falsity, meaning that as the Court funds below, “it is CRYSTAL clear that none of the Statements relating to Dominion about the 2020 election are true.” pic.twitter.com/7lKEspN0WI
— Katie S. Phang (@KatiePhang) March 31, 2023
Court watchers and news junkies are familiar at this point with the massive legal filings Dominion has made in which it exposed how Fox News knowingly made false statements regarding the 2020 presidential election. Those filings, each hundreds of pages, also detail internal Fox News communications and bombshell conversations between the company’s top personalities, executives, and even Chairman Rupert Murdoch.
Image of Rupert Murdoch via Shutterstock
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Capitol Police Issue Warning Over Possible Trump Protests ‘Across the Country’
The U.S. Capitol Police and the Senate Sergeant at Arms on Friday jointly issued a statement warning they “anticipate” Trump protests across the country. The statement is not time-specific, and it states it has no information on “credible threats,” but some Democratic offices are allowing staffers to work from home Friday and Tuesday.
“The Sergeant at Arms and United States Capitol Police (USCP) anticipate demonstration activity across the country related to the indictment of former President Trump. While law enforcement is not tracking any specific, credible threats against the Capitol or state offices, there is potential for demonstration activity. USCP is working with law enforcement partners, so you may observe a greater law enforcement presence on Capitol Hill,” the statement reads.
“The SAA and USCP are monitoring the potential nationwide impacts to Senate state offices,” it adds.
The House Sergeant at Arms was conspicuously absent from the statement. Speaker Kevin McCarthy has control over that office.
READ MORE: Trump Trial Could Go Well Into the 2024 Election – Or Possibly Even Past It: Former Prosecutor
Additionally, Axios is reporting, “several House Democrats are allowing staffers to work from home as a safety precaution,” noting that “the memory of Trump supporters ransacking the Capitol on Jan. 6 is still fresh on the mind.”
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) is allowing staff to work from home for safety reasons. She told Axios, “I don’t ever want to see a Jan. 6 again.”
“I’ve been in the Trump hate tunnel, Donald Trump has gone after me, and quite frankly I don’t have security. I don’t have entourages.”
She’s not the only Democrat to raise concerns.
“Much of the language from the former President and his devotees is similar to what inspired Jan. 6th,” U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips said. “I’m concerned about safety for my colleagues and my staff.”
READ MORE: ‘Lighting the Match’: Marjorie Taylor Greene Blasted for Off the Rails Rant Defending Trump
Meanwhile, House Republicans are issuing full-throated support for Trump and calling for protests.
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who was called out by name in a six-page letter Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg sent to Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan Friday morning, announced she will be in New York on Tuesday to support Trump when he is arraigned. She has posted several tweets since Trump was indicted.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy issued a statement Thursday seemingly designed to gin up rage and action in the MAGA base.
“Alvin Bragg has irreparably damaged our country in an attempt to interfere in our Presidential election. As he routinely frees violent criminals to terrorize the public, he weaponized our sacred system of justice against President Donald Trump. The American people will not tolerate this injustice, and the House of Representatives will hold Alvin Bragg and his unprecedented abuse of power to account.”
Image by Elvert Barnes via Flickr and a CC license
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