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June 30, 2011

Appeal of decision invalidating DoMA in bankruptcy case goes forward

The Justice Department has appealed the decision by the Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles in In re Balas and Morales, which held that Section 3 of DoMA was unconstitutional. The issue arose when a joint petition for bankruptcy was filed by a married gay couple, forcing the court to rule on whether the marriage was cognizable.

In its filing, the Department noted that, although the Attorney General has opined that this provision of the law is indeed unconstitutional, the law will continue to be enforced until it is repealed or found unconstitutional by an appellate court. However, according to a Department spokesman, the appeal in effect will serve only to allow the attorneys hired by Speaker Boehner to defend DoMA to intervene so that they can make the substantive arguments that it is constitutional.

No surprises here - this is exactly the procedure that DoJ announced it would follow, i.e. appealing decisions striking down DoMA that it agrees with, so that the appellate court would have jurisdiction over the case, thereby insuring that Congress would have the opportunity to defend the law. The logic appears twisted, but then, what isn't twisted about DoMA?


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