backroom bargaining

FRC’s Ton Perkins To Obama: We Know You’ve Been Colluding With Prop 8 Attorneys

The Family Research Council, which completely doesn’t try to influence lawmakers at all, is convinced the White House and Department of Justice worked with Prop 8 plaintiff attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies — and he’s out to prove it. In a letter to DoJ, FRC chief Tony Perkins asserts Obama and his government lawyers have been working with the lead attorneys on the biggest-ever marriage equality case. And that’s just not right!

“Less than three hours after Attorney General Holder’s announcement, litigants seeking to strike down California’s traditional marriage definition enacted by Proposition 8 filed a ‘Motion to Vacate Stay’ in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. On pages 7 of 23 and 10 of 23 the Motion cited to and quoted from the Attorney General Letter,” says Perkins in his letter. “As the president of the Family Research Council (FRC), an organization that has filed amicus briefs defending both Proposition 8 and DoMA, I am troubled by the lightning-fast integration of concepts and actual language from the Attorney General Letter into the Motion to Vacate Stay. Let me repeat: the Motion was filed within two-and-one-half hours of Attorney General’s press conference. Consequently, I am deeply concerned that officials at the Department of Justice were collaborating with the litigants in the Proposition 8 case. Even the appearance of collusion between the Department of Justice and litigants is highly damaging to the rule of law in America.”

Could DoJ have worked with Perry v. Schwarzenegger‘s plaintiffs in making their decision not to defend the constitutionality of DOMA’s Section 3? Maybe! But do Olson and Boies work extremely fast, have an organization (the American Foundation for Equal Rights) set up to handle strategy, and a crap ton of money and resources at their fingers to move rapidly on all things marriage? You betcha. Moreover, even if DoJ did communicate with Olson, et. al, that wouldn’t necessarily represent a conflict of interest, for the same reason DoJ staffers sitting down with a group like FRC wouldn’t mean they were “conspiring.”