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DOMA news round-up

DOMA trials Gill/Massachusetts

By Scottie Thomaston

– Via Kathleen in Quick Hits, audio arguments are available from the DOMA challenge Cozen O’Connor v. Tobits are available here. Jacob covered the case here at P8TT. Thanks to Kathleen for putting this together.

– Also via Kathleen in Quick Hits, an update in McLaughlin v. Panetta, the challenge to DOMA as applied to the military:

Today, the federal defendants’ (“DOJ”) filed a motion asking for an extension of the deadlines to answer the plaintiffs’ complaint and respond to plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment until 21 days after the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals decides the Massachusetts DOMA cases (Massachusetts v. HHS, No. 10-2204, and Gill v. OPM, No. 10-2207).  Plaintiffs consent to the motion.

UPDATE April 22: DOJ’s motion granted.

1:11-cv-11905 Order 4-22-12


  • 1. Rich  |  April 25, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Thank you Kathleen and everyone else who posts to help the rest of us understand what is happening….but, please!, help me to understand…what does this post mean?

  • 2. Kathleen  |  April 25, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    This is just catch-up on the status of a couple of the DOMA cases.

    There is more information on the first case — Cozen O'Connor v. Tobits — in Jacob's earlier post (link above). Jacob wrote the post on March 12, the day of the hearing. Someone made the audio of the hearing available to me and I set up the web page so you can listen to it.

    The second case — McLaughlin v. Panetta — is the one brought by SLDN that had been on hold until April 28. The case is in Massachusetts District Court and thus in the same jurisdiction (1st Circuit) as the Massachusetts DOMA cases. As such, whatever the 1st Circuit decides in those cases will be binding precedent impacting this (McLaughlin) case. Therefore, the court in McLaughlin has give permission for the government defendants to wait until after the 1st Circuit issues decisions in those cases before the DOJ has to file its briefs in answer to plaintiffs motions.

    Any clearer? If not, I'll try again. 🙂

  • 3. Rich  |  April 26, 2012 at 8:08 am

    Yes, thank you.

  • 4. Leo  |  April 25, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Speaking of DOMA news, the summary judgment motions in Windsor and in Pedersen have now been fully briefed for half a year. I seem to remember some mention of expecting a ruling in one of them by the end of February?

  • 5. Kathleen  |  April 25, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    I don't know what's going on with either of those. It was Pedersen that GLAD thought they'd have a decision in by now… but nothing. As for Windsor, that's been fully briefed for ages. I actually have it on my to-do list to follow up on that and see if I can find out what the hold up is.

  • 6. Alessip  |  April 26, 2012 at 6:36 am

    Hi Kathleen, thanks for your valuable info as usual!! I wanted to ask you, when do you think a DOMA challenge will finally reach the supreme court? As it is going now, it is probable that the cases in Massachussets District Court will probably get there first, right?

  • 7. Kathleen  |  April 26, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    The cases just heard in the 1st Circuit (Gill and Commonwealth of Massachusetts) most likely will get there first. But Golinski (9th Circuit) is on a expedited schedule, so it might move relatively quickly and could conceivably be a contender. The soonest a case will reach SCOTUS is next term. Though there's no guarantee, I think it's reasonable to think one will get there by then.

  • 8. devon  |  April 25, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    There seems to be no sense of urgency in the various DOMA lawsuits.
    The Affordable Care Act made it to the supreme court quickly, and now the supreme court is considering the Arizona anti immigrant legislation- signed I believe last year.
    There almost no movement in congress to repeal DOMA, and the courts are moving at a glacial pace.
    I doubt that DOMA challenges will reach the supreme court before 2015, if ever.

  • 9. Stefan  |  April 25, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    Thankfully we won't need them all to

  • 10. Lymis  |  April 26, 2012 at 6:57 am

    I hate that what I am about to say is true, but I think that this slow path works to our advantage. Things are changing, but we're still at a point in history, a "sense of urgency" around gay issues in courts and legislature still tends to favor the side that wants to frantically put us down, and tends to allow ridiculous arguments against us to be treated more seriously than they deserve.

    We want the Supreme Court decision to be treated nationally like some of the others watershed decisions before it – surprise and concern perhaps, but a sense of "Well, okay, we saw this coming" rather than the mobilization of forces to pass a Constitutional Amendment to make the discrimination permanent. We're almost there.

  • 11. Tim  |  April 26, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    not sure about that Lymus…all depends on this election in 2012..will the Supreme Court have more liberals on it if Obama wins (and Ginsburg steps down)..or if Mitt Romney will…and 2 younger conservative justices are appointed..then we may well wish it went to THIS supreme court…with Kennedy being the possible swing vote!

  • 12. Joseph  |  April 26, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Tim May be correct – Just think about DADT….repeal passed last year (even though 75% of Americans wanted it repealed)…only because we had the would not pass today, since the House of Rep. is controlled by tea party conservatives, Holding it off is not always the best option…it is hitting your target at exactly the right time that matters!….

  • 13. Theo  |  April 27, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    DOMA is toast.

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