Flap’s Links for February 23rd from 11:43 to 11:47

Posted Posted in Pinboard Links

These are my links for February 23rd from 11:43 to 11:47:

  • Obama administration won’t defend Defense of Marriage Act – The Obama administration announced Wednesday that it will no longer defend the constitutionality of the federal government's ban on recognizing same-sex marriages, a rare legal reversal and the latest in a series of political victories for gay rights activists.

    The Justice Department had appealed the decision of a federal judge in Massachusetts who struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in July, saying it was obligated to defend federal statutes. The 1996 law defines marriage from the federal perspective as between a man and a woman, which means same-sex married couples are denied access to marriage-based federal benefits.

    In an extraordinary change, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said Wednesday that he and President Obama had determined – after an extensive review – that the law's key section is unconstitutional. "Given that conclusion, the President has instructed the Department not to defend the statute" in court, Holder said in a statement.

    Administration officials said the review was triggered by a court-imposed filing deadline in two new legal challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act, filed in federal courts in New York and Connecticut.

    The change in position came after intense lobbying of Justice Department and White House officials by gay rights groups and the American Civil Liberties Union, according to activists familiar with the White House's thinking. "There has been an all-out effort to get them to do the right thing," said one activist, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe internal deliberations.

    Obama's relationship with the gay community, a key part of his political base, has been complicated, and activists had strongly opposed the administration's earlier defense of the federal same-sex marriage law. The president has said in the past that he does not support the right of gay couples to marry, though he said in December that his views are "evolving.

    ++++++

    Obama has now elevated gay marriage into the 2012 Presidential race.

  • Indiana Senate leader says right-to-work bill is dead – But Dems Won’t Return to Indiana Anyway – Republicans have killed a controversial labor bill that has sparked a Democrat work-stoppage and large union protests at the Statehouse.

    But Democrats say that isn’t enough to get them back to the Statehouse.

    The Indiana House resumed at 2 p.m. today although most Democrats were gone and the galleries — which earlier were full of protesters who were applauding and chanting — had been cleared by Republican Speaker Brian Bosma.

    Shortly before that, House Minority Leader Patrick Bauer spoke to reporters from Urbana, Ill., where most House Democrats are holed up in a Comfort Suites hotels.

    Bauer said the House Democrats realize Republicans won’t let them have their hope: taking 11 labor and education bills taken off the table for consideration this session. But they want more than just the one, the “right to work” measure, that Republicans today agreed to send to a study committee.

    ++++++

    Read it all

    The Dems won't be returning because there are now other issues.

    Wow – negotiations of legislation in absentia – a new one for American politics

Flap’s Links for February 23rd from 10:45 to 10:47

Posted Posted in Pinboard Links

These are my links for February 23rd from 10:45 to 10:47:

  • Democrat Rep. Michael Capuano urges unions to ‘get a little bloody when necessary’ – Sometimes it's necessary to get out on the streets and "get a little bloody," a Massachusetts Democrat said Tuesday in reference to labor battles in Wisconsin.

    Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) fired up a group of union members in Boston with a speech urging them to work down in the trenches to fend off limits to workers' rights like those proposed in Wisconsin.

    "I’m proud to be here with people who understand that it’s more than just sending an email to get you going," Capuano said, according to the Statehouse News. "Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary."

    Political observers have been the lookout for potentially incendiary rhetoric in the wake of January's shooting in Tucson, Ariz., where Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) survived an assassination attempt, six were killed, and 12 others were injured.

    ++++++

    How's that civility working out for you?

  • WH: Obama still ‘grappling’ with gay marriage – The White House says President Barack Obama is "grappling" with his personal views on gay marriage even as he's ordered the Justice Department to stop defending the constitutionality of a law that bans it.

    The Justice Department announced Wednesday that, at Obama's direction, it would not defend the Defense of Marriage Act in a court case where it's being challenged.

    Spokesman Jay Carney said Obama has always opposed the Defense of Marriage Act as "unnecessary and unfair." But Carney said there's no change to how Obama views gay marriage itself.

    Obama said in January that he is still wrestling with whether gay couples should have the right to marry. He said his feelings on the issue continue to evolve but he still believes in allowing strong civil unions.

    +++++++

    Looks like a wedge issue for the 2012 Presidential race

Will Meg Whitman Campaign on California Proposition 8, Gay Marriage and The Rule of Law?

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Gay Marriage, Meg Whitman, Proposition 8
California Republican Governor candidate Meg Whitman discusses gay marriage around 5:15 in this Los Angeles television interview

Patterico raises the issue.

Republican Meg Whitman now has a wedge issue in the California governor’s race, if she chooses to use it.

She also has a more subtle but much stronger issue: the responsibility of elected officials to defend the people’s laws.

Here’s why. The Ninth Circuit’s briefing schedule calls for the last brief to be filed by Prop. 8 supporters on November 1, 2010. The court has ordered the parties to discuss whether the
proposition’s defenders have standing on their own, given that the Attorney General and the Governor failed to fight for the law in court.

But here’s the thing: come November, there will be a new Attorney General in California  and perhaps more important, a new Governor. They will probably be sworn in before the appeals are decided. And the identity of the new Governor will probably decide whether California’s elected officials are going to join the appeal. (This assumes that procedural time limits don’t prevent them from joining an ongoing appeal by intervenor defendants. I dont know the answer to this question, but my educated guess is that there would be no procedural bar, as long as the appeal is still live.)

Our current Attorney General, Jerry Brown, refused to defend Prop. 8 and would continue this path as Governor. Meg Whitman, by contrast, was a Prop. 8 supporter. Presumably she would move to join the appeal if elected.

Since Meg Whitman campaigned for California Proposition 8 and presumably donated money to the cause, I would think this issue will raise itself sometime during the campaign. Moreover, Whitman is very close to LDS-Mormon former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and the California LDS community.

My bet is that Whitman uses targeted direct mail to the Pro-Proposition 8 Protect Marriage list shortly before the early voting/absentee voter ballot request time. Also, flyers will appear at many Christian, especially Roman Catholic and LDS churches during this time. Undoubtedly, there will be a sermon/homily or two.

So, the answer is yes.

California Proposition 8 Watch: Federal Appeals Court Grants Stay in Gay Marriage Case

Posted 3 CommentsPosted in Gay Marriage, Proposition 8

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals granted the stay, pending an expedited appeal of the Federal District Court Order that held Proposition 8 violated the United States Constitution.
Appellants’ motion for a stay of the district court’s order of August 4, 2010 pending appeal is GRANTED. The court sua sponte orders that this appeal be expedited pursuant to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 2. The provisions of Ninth Circuit Rule 31-2.2(a) (pertaining to grants of time extensions) shall not apply to this appeal. This appeal shall be calendared during the week of December6, 2010, at The James R. Browning Courthouse in San Francisco, California.

The previously established briefing schedule is vacated. The opening brief is now due September 17, 2010. The answering brief is due October 18, 2010. The reply brief is due November 1, 2010. In addition to any issues appellants wish to raise on appeal, appellants are directed to include in their opening brief a discussion of why this appeal should not be dismissed for lack of Article III standing. See Arizonans For Official English v. Arizona, 520 U.S. 43, 66 (1997).

Here is the order:

An interesting aside is the matter of standing – whether California Proposition 8 supporters have the right to appeal the decision.

There are two interesting aspects to this issue.

1. There will be an election in November of this year and both the California Attorney General and Governor WILL change. Both California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown oppose the stay and support the overturn of California Proposition 8. They both do have standing and a change in office by either Meg Whitman as Governor and Steve Cooley as Attorney General could change the standing issue – as one or both of them may very well flip on the issue.

2. Should the court of appeal agree with the district court that Proposition 8 proponents do NOT have standing to appeal, then they might very well decide that Proposition 8 proponents might not have been allowed to intervene in the trial court – and, thus vacate the entire trial. Hence, the case would have to be tried again.

In the meantime, there will be no further gay marriages in California, as the issue is played out in the political process.