Supreme Court grants extension for House Republicans’ response to Justice Department’s petition for review in DOMA cases
July 31, 2012
By Scottie Thomaston
There are currently three petitions for certiorari to the Supreme Court in challenges to Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act: Gill v. OPM/Massachusetts v. HHS, Golinski v. OPM, and Windsor v. USA. One of those petitions (Gill) was filed by the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) who stepped in to defend DOMA; the rest were filed by the Justice Department. Responses to the petitions were due on Thursday of this week, but BLAG asked the Supreme Court for an extension of time to file their responses.
According to Chris Geidner:
Lawyers for the House Republican leaders, who are going to court to defend the law that bars the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, asked for a delay to file their responses up “to and including Aug. 31, 2012.” Acting through their majority on the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, they sought the additional time to respond to the requests made by the Obama administration and the American Civil Liberties Union for the court to hear other challenges to DOMA.
The deadline extension, which lawyers familiar with the cases say could cause up to a one-week delay in when in the fall the Supreme Court justices would consider when to take the cases, won’t likely have any long-term effect on how and when the cases might be considered by the justices.
Assuming that the extension is granted, however, the new deadline would mean that House Speaker John Boehner’s lawyers would get a chance to take aim at the Obama administration, which stopped defending DOMA in early 2011, following the conclusion of the Republican National Convention on Aug. 30 and before the start of the Democratic National Convention the next week.
Parties to cases before the Supreme Court routinely ask for more time to file briefs. The Supreme Court often grants these extensions. The request and tee decision to grant the delay are not necessarily controversial and do not necessarily foretell anything about the case. And as Geidner notes, the only real effect it may have is to push things back a week or so.