Speaker of the House John Boehner, as head of the Republican-controlled House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), has directed his hand-picked lawyer, Paul D. Clement, to request that the Supreme Court overturn one of four cases Clement has lost, which found a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. Boehner has authorized up to $1.5 million to be spent to defend DOMA, yet has lost every case in federal court.
In theory, if the Supreme Court were to agree to take the case, it could decide before the November presidential election. A win for Boehner could be harmful for Democrats, as the President has declared DOMA unconstitutional, a loss for Boehner could backfire and destroy a strong pillar of GOP policy, the belief that only heterosexual marriage should be legal.
MetroWeekly broke the story late last night:
The news came today in another challenge to DOMA’s federal definition of “marriage” and “spouse” contained in Section of the 1996 law. That case, Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management, was brought by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, and BLAG’s counsel today asked the court to put that case on hold.
One of the reasons for doing so, BLAG’s lawyers said, is because a Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA would answer the questions raised in thePedersen challenge.
That potential Supreme Court case, BLAG details, is Massachusetts v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the appellate case decided by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit decision on May 31.
Referring to that decision, BLAG’s lawyers wrote today in the Pedersen filing:
The House now is preparing a petition for certiorari in the Massachusetts case, a petition which it intends to file by the end of this month. Massachusetts is a good candidate for Supreme Court review, as the First Circuit itself recognized: “Supreme Court review of DOMA is highly likely.” If the Supreme Court grants certiorari in Massachusetts, which we think is likely, the Court likely will docket the case for briefing, argument and decision during the October 2012 Term.
Most legal experts have suggested that timeline in discussions about the Massachusetts case, which was brought by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, and was heard and decided alongside another case, Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, which was brought by GLAD. That timeline would result in a decision likely by no later than this month in 2013.
We invite you to sign up for our new mailing list, and subscribe to The New Civil Rights Movement via email or RSS.