Lawless: DOJ Will No Longer Defend DOMA

Unconstitutional, huh?

Attorney General Eric Holder released a statement on Wednesday saying that the Department of Justice will no longer defend Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in court. Section 3 defines marriage for the federal government as a union between one man and one woman.  From The DC:

According to the statement, President Barack Obama has decided that Section 3, the frequently challenged law that states the federal government must consider marriage a legal union between one man and one woman, is unconstitutional.

“The department has a longstanding practice of defending the constitutionality of duly enacted statutes if reasonable arguments can be made in their defense,” the statement says. “At the same time, the department in the past has declined to defend statutes despite the availability of professionally responsible arguments, in part because — as here — the department does not consider every such argument to be a ‘reasonable’ one.   Moreover, the department has declined to defend a statute in cases, like this one, where the President has concluded that the statute is unconstitutional.”

The DC listed a few updates since this story first broke.  The White House Press Secretary Jay Carney confirmed that the government will still remain involved in existing cases so the courts can make the final decision on DOMA.  Enforcement of the law will still continue.  And President Obama is “grappling with the issue” of gay marriage.  Hmm…

Someone please correct me if I am wrong, but the President of the United States does not have the ability to declare an existing law unconstitutional.  Precedent would leave that task up to the courts or even the legislature in the case of repealing the law.  But that is not what Obama and the DOJ is doing.  They are effectively saying, “I don’t like this law, it is unconstitutional, therefor it will not be enforced.”

That kind of logic sets a whole new precedent standard for the White House.  Whether it be now or in the future, to announce that a federal law will no longer be enforced is quite an extraordinary move.  Rush Limbaugh made the argument that if the next conservative President were to follow Obama’s lead in this assumed White House power then what is to stop them from declaring ObamaCare, the financial reform bill, abortion, and every other law that liberals hold so dear unconstitutional.  While I agree with the results of the latter the means in either case is what is “lawless.”

Perhaps I am over thinking this issue.  After all, the DOJ has already set an agenda to not look into cases with white victims and black defendants.  They have also given liberals VIP treatment with FOIA requests.  It is no secret that the illegal immigration problem is being largely ignored.  Heck, I guess this new policy is the Obama Administration is trying to be consistent.

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  • Jim Hlavac

    Months later, but perhaps you'll see it — I agree with 95% of what you say — However, excuse me, but the first president to declare a law not only unenforceable, but that said law would be removed from consideration and legality by executive fiat was Abraham Lincoln – he single handedly, without any judicial review or congressional action, nary a vote by anyone, unilaterally declared that the entire legal structure of slavery was not only illegal and unconstitutional, but then launched an army to dismantle it — And I dare say, that he went farther than anything that Obama did with DOMA, which is an Orwellian named law — for it doesn't "defend" marriage, and doesn't mention divorce or adultery, but merely prohibits the federal recognition of gay couples. Indeed, it doesn't even charge the gay couples with a crime if they maintain they are married, if a church says they're married, or if their states say they are married. The law has no penalties on anyone — what is there to "enforce"? Egad.

  • Chris

    At first you admit that the law will continue to be enforced, and then you continue to use "enforce" and "defend" interchangeably. This makes you look like you have no idea what you're talking about.

    Many presidents have refused to defend certain laws, including Andrew Jackson. Look it up.

    "After all, the DOJ has already set an agenda to not look into cases with white victims and black defendants."

    Ridiculously false.

    "It is no secret that the illegal immigration problem is being largely ignored. "

    Even more ridiculously false. The Obama administration has been harsher on immigration than any other administration in U.S. history. Unprecedented deportations, unprecedented spending on the border.

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