Respect For Marriage Act Sponsors Demand To Know What Is Going On With House DOMA Defense

From Lezgetreal:

by Bridgette P. LaVictoire

On Friday, the government is heading for a shut down. This is something that House Speaker John Boehner and the Tea Party are revving up to do because, well, they hate having a government of any kind. They are doing what they can to lay the blame for this debacle on President Barack Obama, but let us face reality here. They want to cut government off at the knees, and know that if Obama caves yet again to a small continuing resolution, then they are going to be able to dismantle the government one piece at a time. The Republicans say that this is about reducing spending when everyone knows that this is not the truth. After all, Speaker Boehner has no qualms about wasting taxpayer money on fripperies like, oh, defending the Defense of Marriage Act.

In fact, it is his defense of that law which has the sponsors of the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal DOMA, asking for a briefing on just how he plans to defend it. Boehner on 9 March decided to set up a stacked and pointless Bipartisan Legal Advisory Committee to hold a party line vote which called on the House counsel to defend DOMA in court. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has asked for information regarding the defense, but this letter which was penned by Reps Jerrold Nadler, Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin, Jared Polis, David Cicilline and John Conyers asks for an update on what is going to be done or has been done, and asks that he ‘brief all interested Members’ on the decisions.

They ask in the letter:

Among other things, we are interested in a status report on who will be representing the House, estimates regarding the cost and length of proposed litigation efforts, the anticipated role of the House in litigation (i.e., intervenor or amicus curiae), and your assessment regarding the likelihood of success on the merits. If you or House General Counsel already have arranged for representation by outside counsel, we would welcome and appreciate their participation in this briefing.

The deadline for filing is rapidly approaching. The House council must have it in by 18 April. Of course, right now, John Boehner is trying to maneuver around a more problematic deadline specifically the 8 April shutdown of the government. A government shutdown could result in Boehner’s little plan going all to hell. While the courts will have to remain in session, it is unclear if the House council or his staff would continue to be paid or even allowed to work. In fact, it would prevent the House from hiring anyone outside the government to defend DOMA, but the trial would still have to go ahead as scheduled.

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