House GOP quietly bails on DOMA cases

posted at 8:01 am on July 19, 2013 by Jazz Shaw

Here’s one you might have missed in the flurry of news yesterday. With the SCOTUS decision in the Windsor case, specifically striking down a key portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), you may have thought that the entire matter was put to rest. But at least in technical terms, you’d have been wrong. There are still other cases making their way through the system which fall under the same umbrella, and the House GOP has been a party to those suits. One in particular, involving benefits for gay military members who are married, was brought to light on Thursday with a quiet announcement from the House Republican leadership.

House Republican leaders announced in a court filing Thursday that they will not defend remaining statutes similar to the Defense of Marriage Act that ban recognition of same-sex couples’ marriages…

“[T]he House has determined, in light of the Supreme Court’s opinion in Windsor, that it no longer will defend that statute,” lawyers for the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), controlled by House Republicans, wrote about veterans’ benefits statutes that similarly ban recognition of same-sex couples’ marriages…

In addition to challenging DOMA, the plaintiffs — led by Maj. Shannon McLaughlin, a judge advocate general in Massachusetts Army National Guard, and her wife, Casey — challenge two statutes in Title 38 of the U.S. Code regarding veterans’ benefits that define “spouse” as “a person of the opposite sex.”

The Speaker’s office wasn’t crowing about it, but they weren’t denying it either.

“The document from the legal team speaks for itself,” House Speaker John Boehner’s spokesman, Michael Steel, told BuzzFeed, when asked for comment on the move.

I’ve already seen a few rumblings from some conservatives who feel that they’ve been sold down the river by the House leadership again, but that might be a bit of an unfair rap. There comes a point where you can only remain a punching bag for so long, and the Windsor decision pretty much let the air out of the tires on at least a few specific, related cases. Standing your ground on your principles is admirable, but at some point you have to realize that you’ve not only fired the last arrows in your quiver, but the Supreme Court has crossed the field and broken your bow. This particular fight is over, at least as long as the highest court retains or expands its current profile.

Of course, this only applies – for now – to contested cases at the federal level, particularly as they apply to the military and government employees. There are a number of unanswered questions when it comes down to states’ rights and individual rulings in the parts of the country not sitting inside the beltway. For those answers, there may still be years of battles ahead.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Yet another reason to never vote GOP again. Eff ‘em.

Vancomycin on July 19, 2013 at 8:04 AM

Huh.

Electrongod on July 19, 2013 at 8:06 AM

As if our govt. doesn’t have enough laws they chose to ignore.
I need to make a list of them that I want to ignore.

Black Benghazi Friday!!!!!!

Neal4007 on July 19, 2013 at 8:06 AM

This one party system sucks.

Flange on July 19, 2013 at 8:16 AM

The shame is not from withdrawing from the defense of DOMA which the Supreme Court has basically vacated when all is said and done. The shame comes from the arrogance of the Obama administration for not defending the constitutional laws of this country they don’t agree with which they were sworn to duly uphold. The GOP should be ashamed for not getting some backbone and cutting the funding for the Executive branch if that’s their only recourse with a Democrat held Senate and Democrat President. They’re feckless and nothing but spineless invertebrates who let a corrupt administration run roughshod over them.

iamsaved on July 19, 2013 at 8:18 AM

Once you open a can of worms, the only way to re-can them is to use a larger can.

Liam on July 19, 2013 at 8:20 AM

When Constitutional law is ignored, perhaps it’s time to focus on Natural law, again.

wolly4321 on July 19, 2013 at 8:22 AM

Can’t wait for all the lawsuits to begin over discrimination. Shake down city!

Blake on July 19, 2013 at 8:24 AM

Third Party, contact the Maitre D, your table is ready.

hillsoftx on July 19, 2013 at 8:25 AM

…what were we expecting from House leadership?…BALLS?

KOOLAID2 on July 19, 2013 at 8:25 AM

This one party system sucks.

Flange on July 19, 2013 at 8:16 AM

^^^^
THIS

workingclass artist on July 19, 2013 at 8:28 AM

Maybe true_king was right!

celtic warrior on July 19, 2013 at 8:28 AM

Rhymes with ‘wussies’.

annoyinglittletwerp on July 19, 2013 at 8:29 AM

These kinds of quandaries arise when the Feds over-extend and butt in where they have no Constitutional authority to inject themselves.

Liam on July 19, 2013 at 8:31 AM

The GOP should be ashamed for not getting some backbone and cutting the funding for the Executive branch if that’s their only recourse with a Democrat held Senate and Democrat President. They’re feckless and nothing but spineless invertebrates who let a corrupt administration run roughshod over them.

iamsaved on July 19, 2013 at 8:18 AM

The budget has to be passed by both houses, so they could vote to defund all they want but with the Dems running the Senate, they’d just be pissing in the wind (i.e. the dozens of votes to repeal ØbamaCare). If we get a Senate majority next year, then let’s see what happens.

Kafir on July 19, 2013 at 8:33 AM

I’m not usually one for conspiracies, but this whole “we’re ruled by one party” thing is starting to gain traction with me. Seriously, what is the major difference between the two parties these days? They both spend our money like it was theirs. They both say one thing and do the opposite. They both lie to our faces. They both pander to essentially the same special interest groups…with the exception that the GOP can’t seem to get any loving from the union crowd (but I bet they’d change their tune if the unions gave them any sign they could be friends). I could easily make the case the GOP is using their supposed resistance to immigration amnesty solely to dupe their base into coughing up $…before jumping on the amnesty bandwagon. Where’s our once vibrant democracy?

ScottiesRule on July 19, 2013 at 8:34 AM

There are a number of unanswered questions when it comes down to states’ rights and individual rulings in the parts of the country not sitting inside the beltway.

You mean in Districts 1 through 12.

The odds are never in our favor.

Bishop on July 19, 2013 at 8:34 AM

“…her wife…”

It’s a crazy world where people can say this with a straight face.

Dongemaharu on July 19, 2013 at 8:39 AM

This week the Republican Party has demonstrated the following (you can try to argue with me, but everything is supported by facts): It’s pro-amnesty (a planned bus tour to tell Americans to accept illegal immigration), pro-unconstitutional appointments (even Sen. Cruz stated the GOP caved via Twitter), pro-oppression (the House leadership doesn’t want to rein in the NSA’s illegal monitoring of anyone), and now it’s pro-gay.

I’ve said before, the GOP has wanted to change, become more liberal and less about grounded principles, foe a while and has found that opportunity to do so under Barack. Sleight of hand – keep blaming Barack while destroying America before you realize it. Sadly, its core base sees nothing wrong with abandoning principles as long as they get to shake the hands of pols and take pretty pictures with them.

madmonkphotog on July 19, 2013 at 8:41 AM

ScottiesRule on July 19, 2013 at 8:34 AM

The GOP is gettin a little from the unions,via their distain
for Obamacare.
Seems like a little common ground,if not a starting point,
for discussion.

Neal4007 on July 19, 2013 at 8:41 AM

I’ve already seen a few rumblings from some conservatives who feel that they’ve been sold down the river by the House leadership again, but that might be a bit of an unfair rap

Yeah, it’s always a bit of an unfair rap, isn’t it? Every issue there’s an excuse. Party of unfair raps, not the hill to die on, and the big tent. That’s how we got here.

Dongemaharu on July 19, 2013 at 8:43 AM

Hold please while I check with the MOB RULE MEDIA to see how I should react.

Okay, I’m clear now.

Chanting with the mob:
Let them get married, Let them do it now.
Don’t deny human rights, even if it’s a cow!

PappyD61 on July 19, 2013 at 8:50 AM

Hi ho the derry o, a spelunking he will go…

Gohawgs on July 19, 2013 at 8:52 AM

More evidence of the rotting corpse of the American experiment.

Cleombrotus on July 19, 2013 at 9:03 AM

The gop is just lost, keystone fumblers and bumblers….they fold like a lawn chair to Reids threats now, this?

Look- we cannot accuse and beat up Holder/Obama for not defending or enforcing statutes if WE DON’T EITHER.

Like it or not, it’s the law, change it then, but if its on the books, a good faith attempt to uphold it is must be made.

imperator on July 19, 2013 at 9:06 AM

At this point we’s all Detroit.

docflash on July 19, 2013 at 9:07 AM

For the snivelers, the “pox on both their houses” and “the GOP’s got no balls,” folks -

Standing your ground on your principles is admirable, but at some point you have to realize that you’ve not only fired the last arrows in your quiver, but the Supreme Court has crossed the field and broken your bow. This particular fight is over, at least as long as the highest court retains or expands its current profile.

.
Conservatives have lost this round, and would only be handing out clubs to the libs if they continue to fight in the same manner. The situation has changed, so the tactics and fights have to change. This is not the same as waving the white flag, this is retrenchment and regrouping. If you think this issue is over, look at how long there has been a fight over abortion, compare 1972 with now, the gains are small, but slowly science, evidence, and truth are winning out.
This will not be a linear fight, nor a short one.
Fair-weather friends and part-time conservatives feel free to opt out, but try to avoid infecting the rest of us with your perpetual pessimism.

LincolntheHun on July 19, 2013 at 9:13 AM

LincolntheHun…

If you don’t stand for your principles, that’s the same as not having any.

In other words, you’re an unprincipled idiot.

Vancomycin on July 19, 2013 at 9:17 AM

Conservatives have lost this round,
and would only be handing out clubs to the libs if they continue to fight in the same manner. The situation has changed, so the tactics and fights have to change. This is not the same as waving the white flag, this is retrenchment and regrouping. If you think this issue is over, look at how long there has been a fight over abortion, compare 1972 with now, the gains are small, but slowly science, evidence, and truth are winning out.
This will not be a linear fight, nor a short one.
Fair-weather friends and part-time conservatives feel free to opt out, but try to avoid infecting the rest of us with your perpetual pessimism.

LincolntheHun on July 19, 2013 at 9:13 AM

You just keep whistling past the graveyard, Lincoln.

Cleombrotus on July 19, 2013 at 9:35 AM

When I’m really serious, I don’t use bows and arrows.

d1carter on July 19, 2013 at 9:47 AM

LincolntheHun on July 19, 2013 at 9:13 AM

You’ll have to explain what “retrenchment and regrouping” means both in the context of the last 50 years as history, and as what you envision for the next 10.

rrpjr on July 19, 2013 at 9:54 AM

Feckless.

trapeze on July 19, 2013 at 10:18 AM

I realize that most of you all think differently than I do on this issue, but I hope you can think this through for a second. Exactly where do you think public sympathy is going to lay when the case is veterns’ benefits and marriage? Does it not occur to you that zealousness against gay couples getting veterns’ benefit is exactly the sort of overreach that makes any group doing the overreach unpopular? The GOP House leadership is just showing common sense. You should also.

thuja on July 19, 2013 at 10:30 AM

I haven’t been a member of the GOP since 2002 when they failed to show a backbone on behalf of Bush court nominee’s. The local chapter has been trying to get me to rejoin and help with local and state issues. That would mean my name would be associated with these “go along to get along” push overs on the national level. I was giving it serious thought but it won’t happen now. Some of you are going to tell me that is how we take back the party. I’ve been hearing that for 41 years now and guess what the party is still as progressive as it was when we elected RM Nixon. So taking back the party has been an abject failure.

chemman on July 19, 2013 at 10:31 AM

Face it, the elitist GOP has deserted all moral issues (those nasty social cons)and choses to ignore the breakdown of our culture (gotta focus on those 30 pieces of silver)
The basis for the nation’s breakdown (and their losing votes)is their failure to challenge the left on these social issues since they have programmed our citizens to leave all responsibility to Nature’s God and enjoy lust, deviancy, envy, abortion, pornography, free lunches, racial protection from truth, eco-worship, and a gazillion imagined “new evil rights.”

Don L on July 19, 2013 at 10:41 AM

Obama to Boehner: “I get that for free”

BobMbx on July 19, 2013 at 10:42 AM

BLAG … what an appropriate acronym.

The House GOP show that they’re even more cowardly and stupid than anyone thought, which ain’t no mean feat.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on July 19, 2013 at 11:01 AM

Exactly where do you think public sympathy…
thuja on July 19, 2013 at 10:30 AM

There’s your problem. Right there. You still think that public sympathy is what’s driving these issues.

No, it’s politically powerful minority special interest groups along with an entrenched political class without scruples or principles.

Cleombrotus on July 19, 2013 at 11:22 AM

It’s almost like they didn’t mean it when they passed the legislation in the first place.

If there are some GOP party reps who don’t agree with this tactic, it wouldn’t be hard to make some noise in the media and force Boehner to explain himself on this one.

TexasDan on July 19, 2013 at 11:29 AM

Yet another reason to never vote GOP again. Eff ‘em.

Vancomycin on July 19, 2013 at 8:04 AM

So getting Democrats elected is your goal anyway? At this point the deck is stacked against them at the Supreme Court and there is nothing they can do. There is nothing the House can do by itself at this point. It is a recognition of the reality. But there is a larger point. Not voting GOP gives you two choices: 1. Don’t vote or 2: vote third party. Both choices are effectively voting for Democrat.

Third party voting is why we have Al Frankin in the Senate. It is why Mia Love didn’t get elected to Congress. All third party voting does is elect Democrats. But apparently there are enough knuckleheads out there who are quite willing to cut their noses off to spite their face and see Democrats get elected and make things even worse.

crosspatch on July 19, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Evolving toward Extinction.

Change that GOP Elephant to a Triceratops.

profitsbeard on July 19, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Immorality and stupidity destroy civilizations.

Watch as rule of law and government legitimacy circle the drain.

We rot from the core.

StubbleSpark on July 19, 2013 at 12:07 PM

Third party voting is why we have Al Frankin in the Senate. It is why Mia Love didn’t get elected to Congress. All third party voting does is elect Democrats. But apparently there are enough knuckleheads out there who are quite willing to cut their noses off to spite their face and see Democrats get elected and make things even worse.

crosspatch on July 19, 2013 at 11:30 AM

The reason we have Franken is because of RINOs like Franken’s predecessor. You can rave all you like, but we are in the position we are in because RINOs, not because of people staying home, or voting 3rd party. People have to have a reason to vote for someone. The GOP hasn’t given anyone a good reason to vote for them. 3rd party and staying home are symptoms of the problem, not the cause.

Quartermaster on July 19, 2013 at 12:32 PM

GOP, you ought to listen to Reagan. A two-legged stool is not very stable…

cs89 on July 19, 2013 at 1:05 PM

Feckless cowards.

Abraham Lincoln, the Supreme Court, and the Defense of Marriage Act

…Consider the valuable example of the greatest Republican statesman, Abraham Lincoln, another nineteenth-century figure from whom conservatives should take lessons in the challenges and possibilities of democratic statesmanship. Consider Lincoln’s response to the Dred Scott ruling, his day’s example of unwarrantable judicial activism in relation to an issue of national political importance. That response was characterized not merely by disappointment but by defiance….

…Lincoln surely did defy the principle that the Court tried to lay down in that infamous decision. The Court held that Dred Scott was indeed a slave, and Lincoln saw no lawful way to resist that holding, as much as he surely regretted it. The Court reached that conclusion, however, on the grounds that Congress had had no authority to forbid slavery in the federal territories, thus indicating that the restoration of the Missouri Compromise—one of Lincoln’s, and the Republican Party’s, key legislative aims—would be unconstitutional, because the original Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional. This principle, this interpretation of the powers of Congress, Lincoln did not accept but flatly rejected, holding that it was based on insupportable reasoning and on “assumed historical facts” that were “not really true.”

Lincoln’s rejection of the Dred Scott decision’s account of congressional authority was not intended as a mere theoretical exercise. His aim was not to see his counter-argument published in a learned journal. Rather, he made this rejection the basis of proposed political resistance to the Court’s overreaching.

When his great rival, Stephen Douglas, criticized him for refusing to accept the Court’s word as final on this question, Lincoln replied that each branch of the government has a right to its own interpretation of its own powers. He made this argument as a public man who was clearly aspiring to elected office. In other words, Lincoln’s critique of the Dred Scott decision was intended to signal that if he were elected to the Senate, he would vote for the restoration of the Missouri Compromise, regardless of what the Supreme Court had said about its constitutionality.

Conversely, if today’s Republicans were to follow Lincoln’s example, they would mount a sustained critique of the Court’s intrusion on Congress’s authority and would commit themselves to enacting new legislation in defense of marriage, regardless of the Court’s effort to invent hitherto unheard-of constitutional meanings to forbid them from doing so.

The Lincoln example is apt because in our time as in his, more is at stake than the specific policy question at issue. For Lincoln the policy question was the proper handling of slavery; for us it is the proper definition of marriage. Regardless of the specific policy question at hand, however, judicial activism like that in Dred Scott or Windsor is an attack on the core American principle of democratic self-government.

INC on July 19, 2013 at 1:49 PM

Boehner is a chicken, slime, coward.

ultracon on July 19, 2013 at 4:06 PM

The government can insist that the sky is purple all they want. I’m NEVER going to say it is, and I will fight tooth and nail to be sure children aren’t corrupted by such baldfaced lies and “1984″-level newspeak. “Gay marriage” is an oxymoron. No court can change this FACT.

CanofSand on July 19, 2013 at 6:10 PM

I’ve already seen a few rumblings from some conservatives who feel that they’ve been sold down the river by the House leadership again, but that might be a bit of an unfair rap. There comes a point where you can only remain a punching bag for so long, and the Windsor decision pretty much let the air out of the tires on at least a few specific, related cases. Standing your ground on your principles is admirable, but at some point you have to realize that you’ve not only fired the last arrows in your quiver, but the Supreme Court has crossed the field and broken your bow. This particular fight is over, at least as long as the highest court retains or expands its current profile.

Yeah, that’s why I come to this site, because I need my daily dose of apologist pablum every time Boehner, McConnell and the rest buckle to the left.

Between Jazz and Ed, who needs Bill Kristol or Karl Rove.

Sorry, but this stuff is so stale it’s not even funny anymore.

Cylor on July 20, 2013 at 3:07 PM

Maybe true_king was right!

celtic warrior on July 19, 2013 at 8:28 AM

Maybe?

True_King on July 21, 2013 at 12:22 PM