We already knew the Washington Post lends space to hate leaders and propagandists, so it should be no surprise to see smiling bigot Brian Brown, the National Organization for Marriage president, bylined in today’s paper. A real life pro-discrimination advocate, ladies and gentlemen!
President Obama’s announcement Wednesday that he will refuse to do his job when it comes to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is part of this stunning pattern of rejecting the democratic process. Obama said that his administration would not defend the law in legal challenges because it is unconstitutional but that it would continue to enforce the law selectively. This is incomprehensible and incoherent, except in nakedly political terms. The president is using his power to do what he – and his base – wants.
Particularly egregious is Obama’s unilateral declaration that homosexuals are a specially protected class under the Constitution and that this is the reason DOMA is unconstitutional. But the Constitution does not directly say so. Congress has passed no such law. Nor has the Supreme Court ever said that homosexual people are a protected class.
Oh right, because a president and DoJ have never, ever decided not to defend a law they believed unconstitutional. Surely the now-sitting Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts would know nothing about this.
But it’s not like Brown is crying too much over Obama’s decision. There’s always an upside!
Thanks to the president’s dereliction of duty, the House now has a clear pathway to intervene in legal challenges. If the House does so, that would mean there will finally be lawyers in the courtroom, arguing before the judge, who actually want to uphold the statute and win their case. There’s nothing radical about one or both houses of Congress intervening in a court case; it has happened several times in recent decades. As Hans von Spakovsky, a former Justice Department attorney and senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, put it: “Congress clearly has the authority to retain special counsel to represent its interests in litigation. As history shows, Congress uses that authority most often when there is a conflict between the views of the Administration and the Legislature.” The barrier to House intervention has been that typically the House intervenes only when the administration fails to defend a law Congress believes is constitutional. Obama just removed that obstacle.
And if John Boehner wants to spend his T-2 Years as House speaker challenging Obama’s decision, that’s up to him. But this is the same guy who responded to Obama’s declaration that “[w]hile Americans want Washington to focus on creating jobs and cutting spending, the President will have to explain why he thinks now is the appropriate time to stir up a controversial issue that sharply divides the nation.” And if he challenges, then it will actually be Boehner who must explain why he thinks now is the appropriate time to continue discriminating against an entire class of Americans.