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Second Circuit hears oral arguments in Windsor case

DOMA trials Windsor

By Jacob Combs

I’m at the Second Circuit Court of Appeals today in Manhattan covering oral arguments in the DOMA case Windsor v. USA. Edie Windsor, an 83-year old New Yorker, was forced to pay more than $363,000 in estate tax after her wife, Thea Spyer, died. A district court judge in New York ruled in Windsor’s favor, and while the ACLU, which is representing her, has appealed the case straight to the Supreme Court, the Second Circuit is still considering the case on its own.

Arguments began today at 10 a.m. Eastern time, and I was unfortunately unable to liveblog the case because laptops and cell phones are prohibited in the courtroom. As this post publishes, I’ll be at the court taking notes the old-fashioned way on pad and paper, and I’ll be posting a complete summary and analysis later in the day. Stay tuned!


  • 1. patrick  |  September 27, 2012 at 8:13 am

    Huh? Why would the ACLU appeal a case that was ruled in their client's (Windsor) favor?

  • 2. Scottie Thomaston  |  September 27, 2012 at 8:26 am

    Windsor (the ACLU) petitioned for a writ of certiorari at the Supreme Court before judgment at the appeals court – it just means that they want the Supreme Court to have the option of taking up her DOMA challenge along with the other possible cases they might take up this term.

    Either way, the Justice Department has also petitioned the Supreme Court, and they are Executive Branch defendants who arguably 'lost' in the lower court, because they lost the right to enforce DOMA when a judgment was entered against it. So someone will have the legal right to petition the case to the Supreme Court.

    Windsor is already prepared for conference and was on the list for the 9/24 conference. It was not granted (no action was taken, yet) so we're waiting on Monday to see if it was denied outright.

  • 3. Jack  |  September 27, 2012 at 8:20 am

    do you know if there is audio or video of the hearing that will be available eventually?

  • 4. Scottie Thomaston  |  September 27, 2012 at 8:27 am

    Probably not video. I know at the First Circuit, audio was made available after the hearing was over. So it seems possible, but Jacob didn't say if it would be before he left to go there.

  • 5. Kathleen  |  September 27, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    See my answer below.

  • 6. paulo Katz  |  September 27, 2012 at 8:43 am

    “In the beginning there was only a small amount of injustice abroad in the world, but everyone who came afterwards added their portion, always thinking it was very small and unimportant, and look where we have ended up today.”

    Justice will be served.. In our times, sooner than expected.!

  • 7. truthspew  |  September 27, 2012 at 9:50 am

    I find the ban on electronic devices in court rooms to be just slightly ridiculous. If it's sensitive information then sure but for cases like this where civil rights are at play, there should be a full video record.

  • 8. Jeanne  |  September 27, 2012 at 11:00 am

    If audio were to be made available, where on the 2nd Circuit website would I find it?

  • 9. Kathleen  |  September 27, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    It's only available for purchase. I'm working on getting it and when I do will make it available. It will likely take a week or so.

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