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Cooper-Harris v. USA: In military servicemember’s challenge to Section 3 of DOMA, House Republicans request hearing via telephone

DOMA trials

By Scottie Thomaston

Cooper-Harris v. USA is a constitutional challenge to Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act brought by a military servicemember who is seeking spousal benefits after receiving a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis; the VA determined that she got MS as a result of her service. There is a hearing scheduled in the case for December 10 on a motion to exclude some expert testimony. The Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) who has stepped in to intervene in defense of the law is requesting permission to appear at the hearing via telephone instead of in person. BLAG cites its desire “[t]o conserve litigation resources” as a reason to be allowed to hold the hearing over the phone. The law offices for Paul Clement and the other attorneys representing BLAG are located in Washington DC, they write, and the hearing is to take place at a federal courtroom in California.

Neither the plaintiffs nor the Justice Department oppose the request.

h/t Kathleen for this filing


  • 1. Str8Grandmother  |  December 5, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    All these court cases all the Plaintiffs are real flesh and blood people deserving of their case being decided in their favor, each one of them. But there is something that really touched my heartstrings in this case. I remember reading about this when it first came out. Maybe I could say that in this case DOMA is "extra wrong". This woman served her country now is fighting MS, gotten as a service injury, she is legally married and she just wants for her wife what all the opposite sex military couples automatically get for their spouses.

    Also correct me if I am wrong, but I believe there is another case of a service member who has stage 4 breast cancer trying like mad to get her spouse recognized before she died. If I recall hey had a child as well. These are just "extra wrong". I honestly do not know how the Republican legislators can sleep at night, doesn't their consciousess ever bother them?

    All these cases are just so horrible, they really tug at my heartstrings.

  • 2. Steve  |  December 5, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    The one with breast cancer is part of a group in the McLaughlin case brought by SLDN

    You make the mistake to think that these people have a conscience. Many of them are just sociopaths who crave power. Mitt Romney was the prime example, but there are plenty more like him who don't have a shred of empathy

  • 3. Mike in Baltimore  |  December 5, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    I always thought the GOTP was the 'party who most supported the military, no matter what.'

    Guess I was incorrect when I thought that.

  • 4. Straight Dave  |  December 7, 2012 at 5:47 am

    Yes, you were very incorrect. They only supported the military to the extent that they were happy to waste taxpayer dollars to fund a bloated weapons industry and buying stuff even the Pentagon considered unnecessary and wasteful.

    When it came to the individual troops, they couldn't care less.

  • 5. RWG  |  December 6, 2012 at 10:37 am

    "I honestly do not know how the Republican legislators can sleep at night, doesn't their consciousess ever bother them? "

    You're assuming, of course, that they have a conscience? It's easy to write off the suffering of others when you view, as does the typical GOP drone, gay people as less than human.

  • 6. Larry  |  December 5, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    I wasn't sure how to post this as a news story, but SCOTUSBlog is reporting that the Nevada same sex marriage case has also been appealed directly to the Supreme Court by the state defendants. In part of the petition, pg. 32, they explicitly argue that the Nevada case should be looked at before any of the DOMA/Prop 8 cases.

    Is this likely to cause any delay in the Supreme Court deciding to grant cert on the existing cases? I'd think not because the Nevada plaintiffs should have a month to respond to this petition, and by then, the Supreme Court should have decided on whether to grant the Prop 8 / DOMA cases.

  • 7. Steve  |  December 5, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    They're probably just afraid that the 9th Circuit will overrule that ridiculous opinion and think that SCOTUS is far more likely to let it stand.

  • 8. jpmassar  |  December 5, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    The defendants won. How can they appeal?

  • 9. Larry  |  December 5, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    The same way Windsor appealed her victory?

  • 10. Jamie  |  December 5, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    I don't think the Justices are particularly excited about taking any of these marriage cases, much less the Nevada case that hasn't come up through the circuit.

  • 11. Jamie  |  December 6, 2012 at 9:47 am

    I'm sure the court will look favorably on the arguments from the lawyer that couldn't even bother to show up in court that day.

  • 12. SoCal_Dave  |  December 6, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    If they really want to "conserve litigation resources," BLAG , who has "stepped in to intervene in defense of the law" could just step out.

  • 13. AnonyGrl  |  December 6, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Interesting… conserve resources or, perhaps, hide the person with MS, thereby removing an element that might stir compassion for their opponents?

  • 14. Mike in Baltimore  |  December 6, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Is this an indication that BLAG and their hired guns are starting to have money troubles, and are cutting expenses?

  • 15. Prop 8 Trial Tracker &raq&hellip  |  December 10, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    […] Department dropped its defense, asked the judge in Cooper-Harris v. USA if its lawyers could appear at a scheduled December 10 hearing via telephone instead of in person. The hearing was to take place across the country – attorney Paul […]

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