Supreme Court invites lawyer to argue DOMA is outside their jurisdiction

Vicki C. Jackson will be arguing that it's improper for the Supreme Court to even consider making a ruling on a federal law that treats gay married couples differently from heterosexual married couples.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday invited a Massachusetts lawyer to come argue that the justices cannot rule on one of the gay marriage questions it had planned to decide next year.

The court asked lawyer Vicki C. Jackson of Cambridge to join the gay marriage arguments this spring, but she won't be arguing whether it's legal for governments to treat gay Americans differently in issues of marriage. Instead, at the court's invitation, Jackson will be arguing that it's improper for the Supreme Court to even consider making a ruling on a federal law that treats gay married couples differently from heterosexual married couples.

The high court will be hearing two gay marriage arguments: first, whether California's constitutional amendment that forbids same-sex is constitutional. The second question is the one Jackson will argue that justices should stay out of: the constitutionality of a federal law that denies to gay couple who can marry legally the right to obtain federal benefits that are available to heterosexual married couples.

Gay marriage is legal, or will be soon, in nine states — Maine, Maryland, Washington state, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont — and the nation's capital, the District of Columbia.

But a provision of the Defense of Marriage Act, known by its acronym DOMA, defines marriage as between a man and a woman for the purpose of deciding who can receive a range of federal health and pension benefits, as well as favorable tax treatment.

So far, four federal district courts and two appeals courts struck down the provision. Last year, the Obama administration abandoned its defense of the law, but continues to enforce it. House Republicans are now defending DOMA in the courts.

Jackson was asked by the court to argue "that the Executive Branch's agreement with the court below thatDOMA is unconstitutional deprives this court of jurisdiction to decide this case." She will also argue that House Republicans cannot substitute themselves for the Justice Department and therefore they lack "standing in this case."

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Supreme Court invites lawyer to argue DOMA is outside their jurisdiction
Read this article in
https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Latest-News-Wires/2012/1211/Supreme-Court-invites-lawyer-to-argue-DOMA-is-outside-their-jurisdiction
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today
https://www.csmonitor.com/subscribe