April 9, 2012
By Scottie Thomaston
h/t Kathleen for these documents
We reported last week that the Republican-led House would be intervening to defend DOMA against a challenge from a married military veteran with multiple sclerosis, likely as a result of her service to the country. The case is Cooper-Harris v. USA.The filing was expected on April 2, and it showed up on that date.
As the filing suggests, BLAG will intervene while at the same time requesting a stay of the proceedings in this case. They are requesting the stay pending resolution in at least one of two other cases dealing with the issue of DOMA, Golinski v. OPM and Torres- Barragan v. Holder, et al (an immigration-related DOMA challenge). The plaintiffs challenging the law will object to the stay of proceedings in their case.
While reserving the right to challenge BLAG’s intervention, in the plaintiffs’ response to the motion to intervene, plaintiffs note that BLAG’s intervention to defend a separate federal law relating to military spousal benefits likely falls outside the scope of their original resolution to intervene in DOMA cases to defend against challenges to Section 3 of DOMA. They point out that no formal vote was taken by BLAG to decide to defend this law against challenges and that House Representatives Pelosi and Hoyer have challenged this authority as well.
The scheduling order is here, and looks like this:
1) April 10: Plaintiffs and defendants’ briefs in response to House/BLAG’s motion to intervene
2) April 17: House/BLAG’s response brief
3) April 30 [or seven days after motion to intervene is granted]: House/BLAG motion to stay proceedings is due
4) Within three weeks, plaintiffs’ response to motion to stay is due.
5) Any reply is due within two weeks of that.
If the court denies the motion to stay proceedings the parties will meet with the judge within fourteen days.
UPDATE (4/11): Courtesy of Kathleen, here is the Department of Justice’s response brief to BLAG’s motion to intervene. As in its other briefs, the Department notes that it does not consider BLAG to have independent standing in the case, but that the Department’s decision to remain a party to the suit makes that a moot issue.