February 26, 2013
By Scottie Thomaston
House Republicans – who are leading the defense of Section 3 of DOMA in federal court – have recently filed a motion to intervene in yet another case challenging the law. Partridge v. Napolitano is an immigration case filed in federal court on December 14 of last year against the Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, and other government officials. The case was filed in northern California.
The federal government has not defended Section 3 of DOMA in court since February 2011 when President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder concluded that laws classifying gays and lesbians warrant a heightened form of judicial scrutiny and the statue fails such scrutiny. Since then, House Republicans convened the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) and the group voted 3-2 to take up the law’s defense. They hired noted attorney Paul Clement to handle the litigation, and the group has stepped in to intervene in over a dozen cases so far.
House Democrats voted against involvement in the challenge and they’ve continued to criticize Republicans for spending money to defend a discriminatory law. The cap on expenses has been raised several times with the current cap set at $3 million. Just yesterday, a different federal judge in California ruled that a challenge to Section 3 of DOMA brought by a military servicemember will continue even with the issue pending before the Supreme Court in the Windsor case. BLAG attended that hearing via telephone conference.
The Partridge case was assigned to Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong, a George H.W. Bush appointee, on January 9. The federal government filed a motion to stay the proceedings in the case on February 13. BLAG filed its motion to intervene on February 14. A hearing on those motions is currently set for April 30.
Much thanks to Kathleen for this information