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Chief of DoJ division argues the unconstitutionality of DoMA in Golinski case | Hunter of Justice

Chief of DoJ division argues the unconstitutionality of DoMA in Golinski case

by on December 17, 2011  •  In DoMA

Offering symbolic as well as substantive support, Assistant Attorney General Tony West, the head of the Civil Division at the Justice Department, appeared in court in San Francisco yesterday to present the Department's arguments as to why DoMA is unconstitutional, made to an apparently sympathetic judge. Here is Chris Geidner's report:

According to the Department of Justice, this is only the second time that West has appeared in court as assistant attorney general to argue a case. The other time, DOJ spokeswoman Nana Efua Embil told Metro Weekly, "was for a national security case." Prior to joining the Obama administration in 2009, West had been a partner at Morrison & Foerster in the firm's San Francisco office. Earlier in his time at DOJ, West was criticized for having signed his name to an administration brief filed in June 2009 that defended DOMA by arguing, among other points, that "DOMA does not discriminate against homosexuals in the provision of federal benefits."…

[Tara] Borelli [of Lambda Legal, counsel for Karen Golinski] referenced the historic nature of the hearing, pointing out, "This is the first time that the lawyers BLAG has hired [to defend DOMA] have appeared in court. This is the first time DOJ has appeared … to argue" its position that heightened scrutiny should apply to sexual orientation classifications and that, under that standard, DOMA should be found unconstitutional.

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