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House GOP hires lawyer to defend DOMA, vows to take DOJ funds to foot the bill

Monday, April 18, 2011

House Republicans on Monday appointed a private attorney to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in federal court, and Speaker John Boehner vowed to take funds from the Justice Department budget to pay for it.

John Boehner

Boehner (R-Ohio) retained former President George W. Bush’s Solicitor General Paul Clement — now a partner in the D.C.-based law firm King & Spalding — to defend the constitutionality of DOMA.

On Feb. 23 the Obama administration announced that the Justice Department would no longer defend the law in court.

“Obviously, DOJ’s decision results in DOJ no longer needing the funds it would have otherwise expended defending the constitutionality of DOMA,” wrote Boehner in a letter sent to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

“It is my intent that those funds be diverted to the House for reimbursement of any costs incurred by and associated with the House, and not DOJ, defending DOMA.”

Boehner’s announcements on Monday coincide with the deadline for the House to decide whether or not to intervene in one case challenging DOMA, Windsor v. United States, which is pending in U.S. District Court of Southern District of New York.

Reports indicate that Clement’s hourly fees could top $1000, making his role in defending DOMA an expensive proposition, according to the Human Rights Campaign:

“In fact, it has been reported that Clement received a $5 million signing bonus at the firm, showing just how expensive this kind of representation is. Given that there are as many as nine lawsuits in federal court challenging the constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA, the bill to taxpayers could reach the tens of millions of dollars.”

DOMA prohibits the federal government from granting married same-sex couples things like Social Security survivor benefits, health insurance for federal employees’ spouses, joint tax filing, family and medical leave and other critical protections.

On July 8, 2010, in U.S. District Court in Boston, Judge Joseph L. Tauro ruled that Section 3 of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act violated the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

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9 more reader comments:

  1. This makes me beyond angry. I’m speechless.

    Posted on Monday, April 18, 2011 at 4:25pm
  2. This makes me beyond angry. I’m speechless.

    Posted on Monday, April 18, 2011 at 4:25pm
  3. Posted on Monday, April 18, 2011 at 4:26pm
  4. Economy, jobs don’t matter (like they did before November) Big surprise here. So much for their “small government” load of horseshit.

    Posted on Monday, April 18, 2011 at 5:02pm
  5. Economy, jobs don’t matter (like they did before November) Big surprise here. So much for their “small government” load of horseshit.

    Posted on Monday, April 18, 2011 at 5:02pm
  6. I just love how “they” say they want to cut the deficit; while spending OUR OWN tax money to be used against us and against equal rights……how very Republican….the party that hates together stays together!

    Posted on Monday, April 18, 2011 at 5:15pm
  7. Oh yeah, that slipped my mind.. DOJ funds come from the budget like everything else in DC. Yeah I guess Mister Speaker needs another crying towel so he can go EMO on how he has to spend taxpayer money to tell people who they can and cannot marry…

    Posted on Monday, April 18, 2011 at 6:44pm
  8. They are like kids in a schoolyard….when they don’t get their way….they cry and hold their breath until they turn blue….like bullies they must control everyone’s lives or they are not happy.

    Posted on Monday, April 18, 2011 at 6:59pm
  9. They are like kids in a schoolyard….when they don’t get their way….they cry and hold their breath until they turn blue….like bullies they must control everyone’s lives or they are not happy.

    Posted on Monday, April 18, 2011 at 6:59pm