Early cert. petition filed in another DOMA case

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In an unusual tactical move announced yesterday, a petition for certiorari was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in Windsor v. United States even though the case has not yet been decided by the Second Circuit where an appeal is pending. In the case, a New York federal district court held that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. (See prior posting.) At issue is whether the federal government must recognize the unlimited estate tax marital deduction in the case of the death of a same-sex spouse. The lesbian couple involved had been legally married in Canada. The ACLU explained its reasoning in petitioning on behalf of the parties that prevailed at trial before the government’s appeal has been decided:

At this point petitions for Supreme Court review have been filed in two other DOMA cases – GLAD’s Gill v. OPM case, which has been decided by the First Circuit, and Lambda Legal’s Golinski v. OPM case, which, like Windsor v. United States, doesn’t have an appeals court decision yet.

The Court will likely decide the constitutionality of DOMA this coming term, using one or more of these cases as vehicles for addressing the issue. We filed because we believe that Edie [Windsor’s] story is a strong addition to the striking collection of plaintiffs in the Gill case and to Karen Golinski’s story as well. Now the Court has three cases, offering a variety of harms, to choose from.

[Thanks to Alliance Alert for the lead.]