Alex Blaze

DOJ to meet with Lambda Legal and GLAD

Filed By Alex Blaze | June 21, 2009 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: brief, Department of Justice, DOMA, Gill, glad, lambda legal, law, Nan Hunter, smelt

Now, if you want to see an actual result of the outcry this week, here it is:

At the meeting -- which hasn't been announced and is expected to include leading gay rights groups like GLAD and Lambda Legal -- both sides are expected to hash out how to proceed with pending DOMA cases.

It remains to be seen, however, whether the meeting will achieve in a long term sense what gay rights lawyers told me they were and are looking for -- an ongoing, less-confrontational interaction with the administration in the context of specific cases. It's also an open question whether the meeting will resolve broader tensions in what has been an unexpectedly rocky relationship.

Nan Hunter, at her excellent LGBT legal blog, says that the Justice Department will have to file a response to GLAD's suit against section 3 of DOMA by this coming Friday*. The DOJ will, most likely, defend standing law, but there are definitely ways that they could move forward and defend the law without resorting to the sort of arguments they did in the Smelt brief. We'll see the results next Friday.

It's a positive sign, since the Gill suit is, according to what I've read, more promising than Smelt. And knocking down section 3 of the DOMA in court would be a step forward since it's unlikely that repealing DOMA will have enough votes in Congress for a long while.

* - Update on the date in the comments.

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Nan Hunter Nan Hunter | June 21, 2009 2:15 PM

Thanks for the shout-out Alex. I have an update on timing in the Gill case, though, that I think is good news. My understanding (this has been made official yet) is that plaintiffs will be filing an amended complaint, which will reset the clock for when the Justice Department has to file responsive papers. This likely means that the new deadline for the Justice Department will fall in August. That gives lgbt groups lots of time to educate the administration's lawyers about how to frame a brief that won't embarrass them.

David Castillo David Castillo | June 21, 2009 8:51 PM

Thanks for posting this, Alex. I'm looking forward to this coming week. Round two!