Obama DOJ lies to Politico in defending hate brief against gays
by John Aravosis (DC) on 6/12/2009 01:26:00 PM
Ben Smith at Politico just reported the following statement from the Department of Justice over their brief, filed last night, comparing gay marriage to incest:
As it generally does with existing statutes, the Justice Department is defending the law on the books in court. The president has said he wants to see a legislative repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act because it prevents LGBT couples from being granted equal rights and benefits. However, until Congress passes legislation repealing the law, the administration will continue to defend the statute when it is challenged in the justice system.
Yeah, you see, that's an outright lie. Fortunately for you, and unfortunately for Justice, Joe and I are both lawyers. We suspected this betrayal was coming, so we read up on the law. In fact, George W. Bush (ACLU et al., v. Norman Y. Mineta - "The U.S. Department of Justice has notified Congress that it will not defend a law prohibiting the display of marijuana policy reform ads in public transit systems."), Bill Clinton (Dickerson v. United States - "Because the Miranda decision is of constitutional dimension, Congress may not legislate a contrary rule unless this Court were to overrule Miranda.... Section 3501 cannot constitutionally authorize the admission of a statement that would be excluded under this Court's Miranda cases."), George HW Bush (Metro Broadcasting v. Federal Communications Commission), and Ronald Reagan (INS v./ Chadha - "Chadha then filed a petition for review of the deportation order in the Court of Appeals, and the INS joined him in arguing that § 244
(c)(2) is unconstitutional.") all joined in lawsuits opposing federal laws that they didn't like, laws that they felt were unconstitutional. It is an outright lie to suggest that the DOJ had no choice.
But it's worse than that. Let's just assume for a moment that the Justice spokesman didn't lie to Politico, even though they did. Let's just assume that Obama had no choice but to oppose the gay couple filing this DOMA lawsuit. Where in the law does it say that Obama was required to compare gay marriage to incest? FULL STORY
Leonard Link: Has Obama Administration Gone Over to the Dark Side in LGBT Issues?
For the second time in recent months, the Justice Department has filed a brief with a federal court arguing that a federal law that was on candidate Barack Obama's hit list was in fact constitutional.
A few months ago, it was the Solicitor General's Office that argued in a brief to the Supreme Court that the military "don't ask, don't tell" policy was constitutional, and therefore a petition for certiorari filed by one of the plaintiffs in the 1st Circuit case, James Pietrangelo, challenging the policy, should be denied. ... Last week, the Court denied the petition, without explanation.
Now, just this past Thursday, a different branch of the Justice Department, the Civil Division, has filed a motion and brief with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, urging dismissal of Smelt v. United States, a case initially brought in state court and removed by the government to federal court, challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In the brief, the Justice Department argues that DOMA, a statute that candidate Barack Obama ran pledging to repeal, is constitutional and -- get this --does not discriminate against gay people, even though it says that our marriages are a nullity in the eyes of the federal government and need not be recognized by any state. FULL STORY
Lambda Legal Director Jon Davidson on DOJ and DOMA:
Whether or not the administration felt a need to defend, there are many ways one can defend. The administration could have rested on the first two arguments raised in their papers (jurisdiction and standing) that these plaintiffs were not entitled to sue without arguing at this point that DOMA is constitutional. Doing that would not have waived those arguments. What they need to be asked is why they gratuitously went out of their way to make the outrageous arguments they unnecessarily included such as that DOMA does not discriminate based on sexual orientation or that the right at issue is not marriage but an unestablished right to "same-sex marriage" or that DOMA is somehow justified in order to protect taxpayers who don't want their tax dollars used to support lesbian and gay couples (while it's apparently fine to make lesbians and gay men pay the same taxes but be denied the benefits provided heterosexual couples). Their public statements about the filing try to sidestep these points. They absolutely knew they did not need to make these additional arguments, especially at this time and consciously decided to do so. I am seething mad.
Jon W. Davidson
Legal DirectorLambda Legal
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