Edie Windsor, fresh off the heels of a federal district court win, is now petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on her case that has already found DOMA to be unconstitutional. Windsor, now 83, is working with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
In 2007, New York resident Edie Windsor married her partner of more than 40 years, Thea Spyer, in Canada, and when Spyer died, was forced by the U.S. Government to pay over $353,053 taxÂ in federal estate taxes, merely because the U.S. Government — because of DOMA — in not allowed to recognize her marriage.
Windsor, in Windsor v. United States, won her case and the government was directed to refund her $363,000.
The Huffington PostÂ reports that today, “lawyers filed a petition on behalf of Edith ‘Edie’ Windsor, an 83-year-old lesbian from New York, asking the Supreme Court to review her case, thus bypassing a second round in the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, where the case is scheduled to appear next.
Earlier this month, the Obama administration asked the high court to review two other cases challenging DOMA’s constitutionality. With Windsor’s petition, there are now three cases, from three of the most significant gay marriage states, that could challenge DOMA at the Supreme Court as early as next spring, if the court consents to hear them.
On the phone Monday, Windsor told The Huffington Post that she never dreamed her lawsuit would get this far. At family breakfasts, Windsor said, two 10-year-old cousins have started asking her every morning, “Is it in the Supreme Court?”
“I tell them, ‘We don’t know yet. Not today. But we hope we will be there, and I’ll let you know when,'” Windsor said.
When U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Jones ruled in Windsor’s favor last month, Windsor said she walked around, looking at all the photographs of Spyer displayed on the walls of her New York home.
Windsor said she was thrilled about how wide-reaching the implications of her case could be for other same-sex couples. But her first reaction was, “I need to tell Thea immediately,” she recalled. “So I walked around, looking at the pictures and I said, ‘Oh honey, look what’s happening.'”
Noting that the ACLU “has struck out in a different direction from the Obama Administration on a key question of legal strategy,”Â Chris Geidner, writing at Buzzfeed, today in a lengthy examination, adds:
In todayâ€™s filing, the ACLU argues that the case presents â€œa question of exceptional national importance,â€ stating, â€œDOMA has been held unconstitutional by federal courts in three circuits. The Government has declined to defend its constitutionality, but continues to enforce the statute pending resolution by this Court. Thus, individuals like [Windsor] continue to suffer serious consequences from the Governmentâ€™s failure to recognize their lawfully solemnized marriages.â€
The House Republican leadership-controlled Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group and the Department of Justice already have weighed in asking the court to take two other cases challenging the constitutionality of DOMA. The House GOP leadership has been defending DOMAâ€™s constitutionality since the Obama Administration stopped defending the lawâ€™s federal marriage definition in February of 2011.
Today, Windsorâ€™s lawyers are telling the Supreme Court that her case is the one the court should take. As the Obama Administration did earlier this month in another DOMA challenge, the ACLU is asking the Supreme Court to take the unusual step of hearing the case before a federal appeals court rules on it.
Joined by a high-powered law firm â€“ the lead lawyer for the ACLUâ€™s case is Roberta Kaplan, a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison â€“ and one of the leading liberal law professors in the country, Stanford Law Schoolâ€™s Pam Karlan, the ACLU is pressing the argument that Windsorâ€™s challenge â€œpresents an excellent vehicleâ€ for deciding DOMAâ€™s constitutionality.
The main reason for this, the ACLUâ€™s legal team argues, is that the GOP leaders â€œacknowledged that [Windsor] â€˜has submitted documents that, if accurate, establish â€¦ the estate would not have been liable for federal estate tax, if Spyer had been married to a surviving male U.S. citizen at the time of her death.â€™â€ In other words, the Republican filing acknowledged that, without DOMA, Windsor wouldnâ€™t have owed taxes and there would have been no case.
A week before the ruling in Windsorâ€™s case, the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston held that DOMA was unconstitutional in another pair of challenges to the law, brought by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley (D), and involving several couples challenging the law. And a California judge struck down the law earlier this year in a case brought by an employee of the federal courts, Karen Golinski, who was denied spousal health insurance benefits for her wife. Golinskiâ€™s case, brought by Lambda Legal, is now on appeal before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Video of Edie Windsor discussing her court win in June:
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‘Chutzpah’: Biden Blasts Johnson ‘Taking Credit’ for $30 Million Project He Voted Against
Speaking in Pueblo, Colorado to promote his highly-successful “Bidenomics” fiscal program, President Joe Biden on Wednesday blasted Speaker of the House Mike Johnson for “taking credit” for a major federally-funded infrastructure project despite having voted against the legislation that made it happen.
“All across America,” the editorial board of the Las Vegas Sun wrote in August, “the success of Bidenomics is well beyond debate.” They also quoted former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, who “wrote in an essay last month, Bidenomics ‘is turning out to be the most successful set of economic policies the United States has witnessed in a half-century.'”
President Biden traveled to Colorado and spoke to voters in the district represented by U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO).
“The company that Biden visited, CS Wind, is on the home turf of Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, who has described the president’s climate policies as ‘a massive failure,'” The Associated Press reported.
“’Did you all know that you’re part of a massive failure?’ Biden said to the workers and local officials gathered for his speech as he touted hundreds of new jobs fueled by tax incentives for clean energy initiatives. ‘None of that sounds like a massive failure to me. How about you?'”
At one point, President Biden targeted Speaker Johnson and Florida Republican Vern Buchanan, one of the wealthiest members of Congress.
“The new Republican Speaker of the House, along with Republican Congressman Vern Buchanan just visited Sarasota, Florida yesterday to tour the construction of a new terminal at that airport. It’s going to create thousands of jobs over time. The project is funded with nearly $30 million from the bipartisan recession law. It’s going to generate more than $30 million for Florida, multiple times times over and guess what? Both the Speaker and the Congressman voted against the law. And spoke against the law. But now they’re down there taking credit for it being built.”
“As my mother would say, ‘God love ’em,'” the President continued. “As one of my friends back home would say, ‘that’s real chutzpah.'”
Watch the President below or at this link.
Biden: The new Republican Speaker with Vern Buchanan just visited Sarasota to tour the construction of a new terminal. Both of them voted against the law but now they’re down there taking credit for it.. pic.twitter.com/KS5fyVg5Xj
— Acyn (@Acyn) November 29, 2023
How Mike Johnson Spent the Day Protecting Mike Johnson
Republican Speaker of the House Mike Johnson made two major statements Wednesday at a press conference on his Biden impeachment inquiry, both of which serve to protect not the rule of law, the public’s faith in the credibility of Congress, or American democracy, but Mike Johnson.
Johnson, elected Speaker by every House Republican just five weeks ago, was widely described as a “back-bencher,” (a British term Americans have co-opted to refer to a low-profile or lower-level member of Congress,) yet he was anything but. While not well-known by the American people, Johnson had made his mark during the 2020 election, leading The New York Times recently to call him “a key architect of his party’s objections to certifying President Biden’s victory.”
“Mr. Johnson played a leading role in recruiting House Republicans to sign a legal brief supporting a lawsuit seeking to overturn the results” of the 2020 presidential election, The Times reported. “In December 2020, Mr. Johnson collected signatures for a legal brief in support of a Texas lawsuit, rooted in baseless claims of widespread election irregularities, that tried to throw out the results in four battleground states won by Joseph R. Biden Jr.”
In an opinion piece last month, The New York Times’ Jamelle Bouie declared, “Mike Johnson Is a Right-Wing Fever Dream Come to Life.”
In addition to Johnson’s far-right wing views on religion and social issues, Bouie pointed to the Speaker’s “tireless advocacy on behalf of Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election.”
He noted: “Johnson wrote one of the briefs purporting to give a legal justification for throwing out the voting results in several swing states. He advanced the conspiracy theory that Venezuela was somehow involved with the nation’s voting machines. On Jan. 6, 2021, he urged his Republican colleagues to block certification of the election on the grounds that state changes to voting in the face of the pandemic were illegitimate and unconstitutional. When questioned, during his first news conference as speaker, whether he stood by his effort to overturn the 2020 election, he ignored the question, and his fellow Republicans shouted down the reporter who asked it.”
Johnson “is, in short, an election-denying extremist who believes that his allies have the right to nullify election results so that they can impose their vision of government and society on an unwilling public.”
On Wednesday, Speaker Johnson falsely described both impeachments of Donald Trump as “meritless.”
It was an important statement for him to make, for Mike Johnson.
“I’m a lawyer. I’m a constitutional law attorney,” Speaker Johnson told reporters Wednesday, a statement he frequently uses to remind people of his status. “I served on President Trump’s impeachment defense team twice. And we lamented openly, we decried how the Democrats politicized that process, they were brazenly political, and how they brought those meritless impeachment charges against the president.”
Donald Trump was impeached the first time for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress after “Trump froze military assistance for Ukraine,” NPR reported in early 2020, “at the same time he sought investigations that he thought might help him in the 2020 campaign.”
The second time Trump was impeached, in January 0f 2021, was for “incitement of insurrection.” Speaker Johnson calling that meritless is in direct contradiction of a Colorado judge’s recent ruling that Trump did, in fact, “engage in insurrection.”
“This, what you’re seeing here, is exactly the opposite,” Johnson continued on Wednesday, referring to his committee chairmen’s impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden. It is an inquiry that Republicans have been forced to admit, even while on Fox News, they have no actual proof of any impeachable offense.
“We are the rule of law team,” Johnson continued. “The Republican Party stands for the rule of law. And the people in charge of this are doing this thoroughly, carefully. methodically. They’re investigating and gathering all the facts and to do this appropriately and to do it in a manner that upholds our constitutional responsibility. requires time, it requires a sound process. You don’t rush something like this. You can’t.”
Speaker Mike Johnson during a news conference dismisses both of Trump’s impeachments as “meritless” pic.twitter.com/twXn3ztSh2
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 29, 2023
It was critical for Johnson to mischaracterize and demean Democrats’ impeachments of Donald Trump, especially Trump’s second impeachment over his “incitement of insurrection.”
Remember, as The Times noted, Johnson was a “key architect” of Trump’s efforts to overturn the election. The insurrection was part of that effort.
Two weeks ago NCRM noted the stakes for Johnson “are simple: his three-vote majority is already razor-thin. Speaker Kevin McCarthy made clear Santos would be allowed to stay as long as possible. Will Johnson direct his leadership team to actively whip to expel Santos, knowing his majority will slip even further?”
Johnson answered that question on Wednesday. Despite having just called his House Republican caucus “the rule of law team,” Johnson effectively declared he opposes Republican efforts to expel U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-NY), who is facing 23 federal felony charges, and a damning Ethics Committee report.
Johnson’s tiny majority would become even smaller, should the House expel the embattled New York GOP lawmaker. And early next year it could shrink even more, given the announced upcoming resignation and exit of U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), not to mention the other “House Republicans who may head for the exits.”
Dana Houle, a former chief of staff for a Democratic Congressman noted, “Ohio law is murky, but it’s possible [Bill Johnson’s] (overwhelmingly Republican) seat will remain open until November. It’s a reason why Santos won’t be expelled; if Santos’ & Johnson’s seats are vacant the GOP will have only a two seat majority.”
And that’s likely another reason why Speaker Johnson on Wednesday declared, “we’re going to allow people to vote their conscience” on the Santos expulsion vote, expected Thursday. “We’ve not whipped the vote and you wouldn’t I trust that people will make their decisions thoughtfully and in good faith. I personally have real reservations about doing this. I’m, I’m concerned about a precedent that may be set for that.”
Speaker Johnson says he has “real reservations” about expelling George Santos pic.twitter.com/JyaluKfVET
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 29, 2023
Watch the videos above or at this link.
Speaker Mike Johnson to Be Keynote Speaker at Hardline Christian Nationalist Lawmakers’ Gala
Last week, Christian nationalist religious-right activist and former Arkansas state Sen. Jason Rapert announced that House Speaker Mike Johnson will be the keynote speaker at the upcoming National Association of Christian Lawmakers gala that is being held at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC on Dec. 5.
The National Association of Christian Lawmakers, as its name suggests, is a far-right Christian nationalist organization founded by Rapert in 2019 that seeks to spread its far-right “biblical worldview” across the nation and “take authority” over every level of government.
Rapert, who last week was appointed to the state library board by Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, is a hardline anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ activist who has declared that no Christian can ever vote for a Democrat because Democrats have “been enlisted to further the antichrist cult in our country.”
Christian nationalist Jason Rapert attempts to topple the “LGBTQ cult” that has allegedly taken over the country: “Let go of our reins of government in this nation! You will not drag us into your pit!” pic.twitter.com/2F2UXrKzYC
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) September 25, 2023
Christian nationalist Jason Rapert is sick of all “the idiots in the country that want to make you think that a man’s gotta be able to go up and slobber all over another man and hug and kiss him and pretend like they’re married.” pic.twitter.com/pYRmZvy7eo
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) February 7, 2023
Former Arkansas state senator and founder of the National Association of Christian Lawmakers Jason Rapert declares that Christians “must take authority” over government: “Do you think that America is gonna be free with a bunch of drag queens running this place?” pic.twitter.com/cUp6pyr4XF
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) February 2, 2023
“This is what the NACL does every day all across this country,” Rapert bragged. “We are fighting against the people that are putting the queer books into your school libraries and trying to groom these children into homosexuality.” https://t.co/frIHtEAF05 pic.twitter.com/USWXPyFxiq
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) March 22, 2023
Christian nationalist Jason Rapert has high hopes for the 2024 presidential election: “My hope is that the people of this nation will reelect Jesus to be on the throne here again in our country.” pic.twitter.com/lCrNGFt8A0
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) May 5, 2023
When the National Association of Christian Lawmakers held a meeting earlier this year, participants used it as an opportunity to discuss plans to strip public libraries of their funding, convince states to designate June as “Christian History Month,” and defend the practice of imposing “the death penalty for sodomy.”
This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is reprinted here by permission.
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