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Separate DOMA arguments urged

All sides in the case on the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to more than double the time for oral argument on March 27, and to hold separate arguments on the constitutional issue and on the Court’s authority to decide the case.  The motion in the case of United States v. Windsor (12-307) is here. The Court has not yet acted upon it.

Instead of sixty minutes divided among the two sides and the Court-appointed lawyer who also is taking part, the motion suggested that the Court grant 125 minutes overall.

On the question of the Court’s authority to decide — that is, the jurisdiction over the government’s appeal and the right of the House GOP leaders to pursue an appeal — the motion suggested a total of sixty-five minutes, in this order: Court-appointed amica, twenty-five minutes; Solicitor General, for the United States, fifteen minutes; House GOP (Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group), fifteen minutes, and challenger Edith Schlain Windsor, ten minutes. (The Court-appointed amica is Harvard professor Vicki C. Jackson.)

On the constitutionality of DOMA’s Section 3 — the ban on federal marriage benefits for same-sex couples who are legally married under state law — the motion suggested a total of sixty minutes, in this order: House GOP (BLAG), defending the law, thirty minutes; Solicitor General, for the United States, fifteen minutes, and Ms. Windsor, fifteen minutes.  (The motion noted that the Court-appointed amica, who is involved only on the jurisdictional issues, took no position on this separate proposal.)

The separated arguments would be back to back on Wednesday, March 27, starting at 10 a.m.   No other case is scheduled for argument that day.

The other same-sex marriage case now at the Court, on the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 ban on such marriages in that state, is currently scheduled for one hour total of argument on March 26, on both the constitutional issue and on the question of whether the proposition’s sponsors have a legal right to pursue their appeal seeking to revive the law, after it was struck down in lower federal courts.  That case is Hollingsworth v. Perry (12-144).


Recommended Citation: Lyle Denniston, Separate DOMA arguments urged, SCOTUSblog (Feb. 27, 2013, 7:28 PM),