House Leadership Seeks to Intervene in DOMA Case

Posted by Chris Geidner
April 18, 2011 9:47 PM |

Without opposition from either the Department of Justice attorneys representing the Obama administration or the lawyers representing Edith Windsor in her challenge to the federal definition of marriage contained in the Defense of Marriage Act, the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) of the U.S. House of Representatives filed a motion to intervene in Windsor v. United States "for the limited purpose of defending the constitutionality of Section III of [DOMA]."

The move, which had to happen by today per the judge's order in the case, was signaled earlier in the day in a series of letters between House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) -- two of the five members of the BLAG. The intervention has been opposed by Pelosi, as well as the other Democratic member of the BLAG, which was noted in the Windsor filing this evening.

Roberta Kaplan, Windsor's lawyer, responded to the filing in a statement by noting, "We are determined to move forward with Edie's case as expeditiously as possible so that the court can rule that all marriages are equal under the law and that DOMA is unconstitutional. Our client, who is not getting any younger, filed her case more than five months ago and it is clearly time for her to have her day in court."

As to the DOJ's position, the filing notes that "the United States does not oppose this motion to intervene for purposes of presenting arguments in support of the constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA, but will be filing a response to explain its position."

Attorney Paul Clement -- the former solicitor general under President George W. Bush and a partner at King & Spalding -- signed the filing to intervene in the case, following reports earlier today that he had been retained for the job by the Republican members of the BLAG.

Read the filing: Windsor-BLAGIntervention.pdf

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