Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Obama is In His Rights Not To Defend Defense of Marriage Act

Chris Barron and Republican advocate in the gay community has a post up at
On Executive Power.

I largely agree with him. Further as this post points out this is not unheard of at all . See via the Volokh Conspiracy .Do Presidents Have a Duty to Defend the Constitutionality of Laws they Believe to be Unconstitutional?

Now as a practical matter this should be the rare exception and not the norm. If it was the norm one could have a very unproductive war between the branches. For instance the legislative branch might just start defunding parts of the Justice Department.

However there is another issue here. That is of standing!! It is not wise to do this if it appears it is just a way to stop litigation. For instance in California the standing issue is becoming quite big as the California State Govt refuses to defend their State law on marriage. One can question what serious repercussions this will have for California's widely known Citizen ballot process. Once can see a precedent being set that could be abused in future cases.

Regardless, I am under the impression standing for qualified parties to defend DOMA should not be a problems. However I might have jumped the gun on that. See here.

Though as a policy matter this avenue should be used rarely by the Executive it appears to me that Obama is within his rights here.

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