Friday, June 12, 2009
DOJ Defends DOMA
The Obama Administration has filed its Motion to Dismiss a challenge to DOMA in the US District Court for the Central District of California. Despite the possibility that Obama would leave DOMA undefended from various challenges (last discussed here), the Obama Administration's 54 page memorandum (download here) is a vigorous defense. Here's the Argument outline:
I. This Court Lacks Jurisdiction Over Plaintiffs' Claims Against
the United States Because the State Court Lacked Jurisdiction
II. Plaintiffs' Claims and Allegations Against the United States
Must Be Dismissed for Lack of Standing
A. The Case or Controversy Requirement of Article III
B. Plaintiffs Lack Standing to Challenge DOMA's Reservation
of the States' Authority Regarding Recognition of
Same-Sex Marriages Performed in Other States .
C. Plaintiffs Lack Standing to Challenge the Definitions
of "Marriage" and "Spouse" Under Federal Law
D. Plaintiffs Cannot Establish Standing to Seek Certain
Sweeping Relief Requested in Their Complaint
III. DOMA Is a Valid Exercise of Congress's Power
under the Full Faith and Credit Clause
A. Section 2 is Consistent With Common Law Conflicts Principles
B. Section 2 Was Enacted Under Congress's Authority to Prescribe
the "Effect" of One State's Acts in Other States
IV. DOMA Cannot Be Said to Violate an Asserted "Right to Travel"
V. DOMA Is Consistent with Equal Protection and Due Process Principles
A. Federal Courts Have Unanimously Upheld the Constitutionality of DOMA
B. DOMA Does Not Impinge Upon Rights That Have Been Recognized as Fundamental
C. DOMA Does Not Rest on a Suspect Classification
D. DOMA Satisfies Rational-Basis Review
VI. DOMA Does Not Violate the Right to Privacy
VII. DOMA Cannot Be Said to Infringe Upon any Rights of Speech
VIII. DOMA Cannot Be Said to Infringe Upon any "Right" under the Ninth Amendment
The use of two precedents are especially interesting. First is the argument regarding Loving v. Virginia:
Memo at 42. Another interesting aspect is Obama Administration's distinction of Romer v. Evans:
unlike the Colorado amendment struck down in Romer, DOMA is rationally related to legitimate government interests and cannot fairly be described as "born of animosity toward the class of persons affected." Romer, 517 U.S. at 634. DOMA simply preserves longstanding federal and state policies that have afforded protections and privileges to a traditional form of marriage, while simultaneously recognizing the right of States to extend such protections and privileges to same-sex marriage. Under our federalist system, preserving the autonomy of state and federal governments to address evolving definitions of an age-old societal institution is itself a legitimate governmental interest. Moreover, because DOMA protected "the ability of elected officials to decide matters related to homosexuality," including their right to recognize same-sex marriage, it plainly was not born solely as a result of animosity towards homosexuals.
Memo at 35.
This Motion to Dismiss and the legal arguments in the Memo are sure to garner attention, especially given Obama's (previous?) relationship with the LGBT community and progressive groups. There is already a solid analysis on AmericaBlog.