Lamar Smith (R-TX), a member of the House Judiciary Committee and the U.S. House of Representatives – and my district’s representative – has asked the court to let him, and not the Obama administration’s Department of Justice (DoJ), appeal the ruling in Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. US Dept. of Health and Human Services, et al., striking down key provisions of the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Smith claims that the DoJ, “has clearly let the president’s policy preferences dictate its litigation strategy” and that, “DOMA … should receive a true defense rather than a hollow one designed to pacify political constituents.” It’s no surprise that Smith’s actions are being supported by the Alliance Defense Fund, an organization of “Christian” lawyers.
But Lamar Smith doesn’t have to intervene. The DoJ has already filed their appeal in this case indicating that our fierce advocate, President Barack Obama, will continue to defend the legislative acts he feels are unconstitutional. According to a DoJ spokesperson: Tracy Schmaler, “The Justice Department is defending the statute, as it traditionally does when acts of Congress are challenged.”
And that appears to be exactly what the DoJ has done with the recent ruling and court order declaring the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) policy unconstitutional.
At some point, we need to recognize a fact. There is no legal requirement or duty for the president to defend a statute. While the DoJ keeps implying it, you’ll note they’ve never said it, because it isn’t true.
In fact, the Justice Department has recently refused to appeal a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. That ruling, issued Aug. 6, 2010, declared the regulations forcing individuals or small groups to obtain a permit for First Amendment-protected activities unconstitutional.
So why is it that the man who said: “My attitude is if people are being treated unfairly and unequally, then it needs to be fixed,” and who has been labeled as a fierce advocate of LGBT people, is defending DOMA and DADT? Is it like Lamar Smith alleges and they aren’t going to defend the laws as aggressively as opponents of equality would hope? Alas, I’m afraid the only answer I have for you is this:
Obama is no Lady Gaga.
- Texas Representative Wants To Take Over Defending DOMA In Court From Obama DoJ (lezgetreal.com)
- Obama’s Gay Rights Conundrum [Asking And Telling] (jezebel.com)
- Politics in Justice, Delays in Equality (zackfordblogs.com)
- Department Of Justice Appeals DOMA Ruling (towleroad.com)
- “Obama DoJ asks judge to set aside DADT moratorium — and the Professional Left is again supposed to eat it” and related posts (downwithtyranny.blogspot.com)