UPDATED: USA: Supreme Court Case Update – DOMA/Prop 8 Briefs Streaming In

Written by scott on February 28th, 2013


Some updates on the amicus briefs streaming into the court. The Huffington Post takes a look at the amicus briefs submitted by 14 states:

“There is no federal interest adequate to justify DOMA’s categorical disregard of the choice of some States to recognize or authorize same-sex marriage,” the brief states, adding that DOMA’s “sweeping refusal to recognize for federal purposes a class of marriages valid under state law violates the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment. The federal Defense of Marriage Act clearly violates the principle of equal justice under law as enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, and improperly intrudes on the traditional role of states in regulating marriage and promoting equality. We urge the Supreme Court to overturn this discriminatory law,” Schneiderman said in a statement provided to The Huffington Post.

Over at Queerty, John Gallagher pooh-pooh’s the much ballyhooed GOP brief on Prop 8:

In fact, it means very little. Despite the MSM trumpeting the signees as “prominent,” they are by and large political has-beens, never-beens or behind-the-sceners who have virtually zero influence on the current Republican party. It’s hard to describe such luminaries as the mayor of Melrose, MA, and the former Undersecretary of State for Economic, Energy, and Agricultural Affairs as political supernovas without laughing out loud.

He explains why:

Let’s not kid ourselves: these people have very little influence in the fever swamps that constitute the GOP today. As Charles Pierce at Esquire put it, “Christine Todd Whitman is an influential Republican? Since when? You might as well be talking about William Seward.”

And finally, the Mountain Xpress reports that the Campaign for Southern Equality has also joined an amicus brief against DOMA/Prop 8:

Among its arguments, the brief asks the Supreme Court to extend the fundamental right to marry to gay and lesbian Americans, including those who live in Southern states where constitutional bans on marriage equality are in place. Using the case study of Utah laws, the brief speaks to the experience of lesbian and gay Americans in a majority of states – including the entire South – where systems of entrenched legal discrimination treat LGBT people as second-class citizens.

Prop 8More news on the Defense of Marriage Act/Prop 8 lawsuit front. First, Towleroad.com has the details on a bunch of anti=Prop 8 briefs due in today, the last day to submit them before the Supreme Court begins consideration of the two cases:

Among the amici curiae filing briefs in support of the Plaintiffs are:

  • More than 100 social and political conservatives, moderates, and libertarians from diverse religious, racial, regional, and philosophical backgrounds, including Mary Bono Mack, Alex Castellanos, James B. Comey, Clint Eastwood, Carlos Gutierrez, Gary Johnson, Benjamin Ginsburg, Stephen Hadley, Margaret Hoover, Jon Huntsman, James Kolbe, Ken Mehlman, Steve Schmidt, William F. Weld, Christine Todd Whitman, Meg Whitman, and Paul Wolfowitz
  • Nearly 100 of the nation’s leading companies, including Apple, Nike, Morgan Stanley, Facebook, AIG, Intel, Marsh & McLennan, Xerox, Verizon, Hewlett-Packard, Mesirow Financial, Cisco Systems, Oracle, Google, Panasonic, Barnes & Noble, Office Depot, and Alaska Airlines
  • The State of California
  • The States Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington and the District of Columbia
  • Utah Pride Center, Campaign for Southern Equality, and 25 state-wide equality organizations
  • Family Equality Council, Emory Child Rights Project, Our Family Coalition, the Center on Children and Families, and other advocates for children and families
  • Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays (PFLAG)
  • A broad array of national, metropolitan, local, and minority bar associations and national and local non-profit organizations.
  • A diverse coalition of religious and faith group leaders
  • Professor Harold Hongju Koh and other international law scholars

Defense of Marriage ActThe Washington Blade reports that House democrats are circulating their own anti-DOMA petition:

Drew Hammill, a spokesperson for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), said his boss will lead other Democrats in the friend-of-the-court brief before the Supreme Court, which is due on Friday. The case pending before the court is known as Windsor v. United States. “There will be a strong expression of support from the House Democratic Caucus in support of overturning DOMA and casting DOMA into the dustbin of history,” Hammill said. Hammill declined to provide additional details about the filing, so it’s unknown what the argument of the brief will be. It will likely counter the arguments presented by the House Republican-led Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group that the committee speaks for the House as a whole.

Daniel B. Wood at The Christian Science Monitor takes a look at why so many corporations are coming out against DOMA and Prop 8:

“A lot of these corporations looked at what happened with Chick-Fil-A last summer and decided that coming out against same-sex marriage is bad for business,” says Robert Hume, a professor of political science at Fordham University in New York. Chick-Fil-A, the southern-based food franchise, became embroiled in demonstrations and boycotts last year after president Dan Cathy came out against gay marriage and in support of the “biblical definition of the family unit.”

Another theory:

Shannon Price Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco, says “Corporations want to be able to keep their best talent and offer the same types of benefits and protections to all of their employees in every state across the country. DOMA creates inequality and require employers to discriminate against some of their own workers, which is harmful both to businesses and to their employees. From a business perspective, opposing DOMA is a no-brainer.”

Gay USA reports on Marriage Equality USA’s brief against Prop 8:

The brief uniquely highlights the personal voices of LGBT Americans as they express in their own words why the Constitution’s guarantees of liberty and equality should extend to them and include the essential freedom to marry the person they love. The brief tells both the joys of same-sex couples who have been able to marry and the frustrations of those who are denied that freedom, thereby showing the real effects this case has on real people.

The Dallas Voice reports on the “red state brief” filed by Equality Texas and others:

The “Red State Brief” is a brief supported by the Utah Pride Center, Campaign for Southern Equality, Equality federation and 25 statewide advocacy groups. It calls for the court to uphold appellate court rulings that found the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 unconstitutional. It explains the history of anti-gay legislation in many states that degrade LGBT citizens and deny them freedoms.

Remember that brief with about a hundred GOP signers? Well, one of the reported signers, Colorado’s Marilyn Musgrove, says she didn’t sign it”. Pink News reports:

A former congresswoman who proposed to amend the American Constitution to ban same-sex marriage made US news after the New York Times claimed she had signed a brief to the Supreme Court in favour of marriage equality, only for the paper to admit it had misread a list of names. The claim that Marilyn Musgrove, a former Representative of Colorado, had added her signature to those of 75 other high-profile Republicans who had signed a “friend of the court” brief earlier this week urging the Supreme Court to support same-sex marriage, caused a stir due to her background as an ultra-conservative congresswoman.

And Arthur S. Leonard has an analysis of the DoJ/Obama brief filed against DOMA last week at Gay City News:

Verrilli’s February 21 brief on the merits of the case restated arguments now familiar from lower court proceedings. DOJ argues that “sexual orientation” meets the criteria the Supreme Court has used in the past to identify classifications that should be considered “suspect” for equal protection purposes. In reviewing cases alleging discrimination based on a suspect class, the government has the burden of showing that important policy interests justify the measure. The Obama administration argues that the policy justifications Congress stated for DOMA in 1996 fail to meet that test and that new rationales are now being articulated in a rearguard action to defend the statute.

Still no word on whether President Obama will file a brief in the Prop 8 case, too.


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