Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel is arguing before the Supreme Court that the future of America rests on the two marriage cases that will soon be decided.
The cases – the California constitutional amendment approved by voters and the federal law that both define marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman – are to be heard in oral argument soon, with decisions expected by summer.
“The natural family is fundamental to our very existence,” Staver wrote in a friend-of-the-court brief.
But what if the attorneys required to defend the status quo waffle? Or worse yet, turn on their own clients, the citizens of the United States of America?
That’s the alarming scenario presented by the Pacific Justice Institute, which announced a campaign to hold federal prosecutors accountable for abandoning their clients, the U.S. taxpayers, in a challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
The complaints, signed by more than 900 people, allege the attorneys litigating cases regarding the constitutionality of DOMA “intentionally took action to sabotage the case and prejudice the federal defendants that they were charged with defending.”
Before President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder decided they would abandon the law signed by President Clinton, federal attorneys had a long string of success in defense of DOMA, PJI noted.
But in February 2011, Holder sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner informing him that the Department of Justice no longer would defend the law.
“What has become particularly troubling is that instead of handing over the files and substituting out of the case, the Department of Justice attorneys remained in the thick of the litigation, filing papers against their own client, the United States of America,” said PJI President Brad Dacus.
“When this solicitor general steps up to the podium in the Supreme Court to argue this case in less than 10 days, the first question that the justices should ask is: ‘Counsel, exactly who do you represent?’”
Dacus told WND today in an interview that he never in his law career had seen such actions.
There is a process to employ, he noted, if a White House administration decides that a law is wrong: Have Congress change it.
Why the difference this time?
“This is a matter of agenda, not a matter of proper constitutional interpretation,” he told WND.
After Holder’s abandonment of the law, U.S. attorneys around the nation who report to his department began to submit paperwork to courts in various cases that essentially argued the decision should be against their client, the U.S. government.
In a recent case, the Department of Justice argued to the court: “This court should hold that Section 3 of DOMA unconstitutionally discriminates. Section 3 treats same-sex couples who are legally married under their states’ laws differently than similarly situated opposite-sex couples, denying them the status, recognition and significant federal benefits otherwise available to married persons.”
When the campaign to hold prosecutors accountable was launched, PJI chief counsel Kevin Snider said government lawyers “are essentially rising from the table for counsel for the defendant, walking across the courtroom and sitting down at the plaintiff’s table.”
“These attorneys are now seeking to have judgment taken against the party that they represent – the United States,” Snider said.
He said what the DOJ is doing would be “unthinkable for any other lawyers.”
The 82-page complaint against Haag with the state bar in California “alleges that federal attorneys litigating a case challenging the constitutionality of DOMA intentionally took action to sabotage the case and prejudice the federal defendants that they were charged with defending,” PJI said.
Dacus said there can be little doubt “that government lawyers filed papers with the court calculated to render judgment against their own clients.”
“The actions of these federal lawyers turn our adversarial system on its head,” he said.
A public relations representative for Haag told WND he would try to reach her and ask whether she wanted to respond to questions about the case.
The campaign previously released a list of U.S. attorneys who could be subject to such complaints for their DOMA case work.
Joining Haag on the list were Peter C. Anderson of Los Angeles, Jesi J. Carlson of Washington, R. Randall Campbell of Washington, Stuart F. Delery of Washington, Scott Dunn of New York, David Fein of Connecticut, Patrick J. Fitzgerald of Chicago, August E. Flentje of Washington, Helen Gilbert of Washington, Samuel P. Go of Washington, Arthur R. Goldberg of Washington, Will Gunn of Washington, Christopher R. Hall of Washington, Eric Holder of Washington, Benjamin S. Kingsley of Washington, David J. Kline of Washington, Robert E. Kopp of Washington, Victor M. Lawrence of Washington, Jean Lin of Washington, Judson O. Littleton of Washington, Ronen Morris of Washington, William H. Orrick III of Washington, Carmen M. Ortiz of Boston, Craig Arthur Oswald of Chicago, Susan K. Rudy of Washington, W. Scott Simpson of Washington, Michael Jay Singer of Washington, Jill M. Sturtevant of Los Angeles, Carolyn Washington of Washington, Tony West of Washington, Thomas Scott Woodward of Tulsa, Okla., and Hatty Yip of Los Angeles.
DOMA has become part of the collateral damage of Obama’s campaign to promote homosexuality, bisexuality, transexuality and other sexual lifestyles.
The implications are staggering, said Snider. Not only is it a case of a defense attorney getting up, moving across the room and sitting down at the table for counsel for those suing the citizens of the U.S., but it creates the opportunity – if allowed to stand – for a president to veto any existing law he or she doesn’t like.
“This would give the executive branch a constructive veto over any law,” he explained.
Whatever already is on the books as a law of the U.S., when challenged, simply could be allowed to fall, he said.
Snider warned of the “enormous power” such a precedent would grant presidents.
For example, a president who objects to the income tax could order the IRS to stand down and not defend any tax laws. Default judgments would follow, and the tax laws would be struck.
Another procedure followed when an administration previously determined a law to be unconstitutional was to locate an intervenor to challenge it, and then a court would make the determination, he said.
The voters’ marriage definition was struck down by U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, who retired shortly after the case and became open about his own homosexuality.
Between 1998 and 2012, there were 31 votes in 30 states on same-sex marriage, and in all but one, the voters supported traditional marriage. The exception was Arizona, where voters later approved a ban. In the 2012 election, however, flooded with money from pro-homosexual interests, four states voted in favor of same-sex marriage.
Justice Marvin Baxter of the California Supreme Court, in his dissenting opinion in the 2008 case affirming same-sex marriage, warned of the consequences of judicially ordering a change in the standard for marriage.
“The bans on incestuous and polygamous marriages are ancient and deeprooted, and, as the majority suggests, they are supported by strong considerations of social policy,” he wrote for his court. “Our society abhors such relationships, and the notion that our laws could not forever prohibit them seems preposterous.
“Yet here, the majority overturns, in abrupt fashion, an initiative statute confirming the equally deeprooted assumption that marriage is a union of partners of the opposite sex. The majority does so by relying on its own assessment of contemporary community values, and by inserting in our Constitution an expanded definition of the right to marry that contravenes express statutory law.”
“Who can say that, in 10, 15 or 20 years, an activist court might not rely on the majority’s analysis to conclude, on the basis of a perceived evolution in community values, that the laws prohibiting polygamous and incestuous marriages were no longer constitutionally justified?”
Some of the work by Walker, the homosexual judge, shows evidence of what is developing in the court systems. Critics noted:
“Before the trial even began, the 9th Circuit issued an extraordinary write of mandamus to overturn Chief Judge Walker’s order requiring proponents to turn over confidential internal communications…”
“Also before the trial … the Supreme Court of the United States issued an emergency stay … enjoining Chief Judge Walker from video recording and disseminating the trial proceedings…”
“Walker’s decision recognizing a right under the Federal Constitution for same-sex couples to have their relationships recognized as marriages conflicts with the judgement of every State and federal appellate court to consider the validity of the traditional opposite-sex definition of marriage. …”
Walker peremptorily held that gays and lesbians are a suspect class … even though all 11 Circuit Courts of Appeals … have repeatedly and squarely held to the contrary.”
“Walker refused to stay his judgment pending appeal. As a result, the 9th Circuit was forced to issue such a stay.”
In his ruling advancing same-sex “marriage” Walker also arrived at the following highly controversial legal findings:
“Religious beliefs that gay and lesbian relationships are sinful or inferior to heterosexual relationships harm gays and lesbians.”
“Rather, the exclusion exists as an artifact of a time when the genders were seen as having distinct roles in society and in marriage. That time has passed.”
“The gender of a child’s parent is not a factor in a child’s adjustment.”
“The evidence shows beyond any doubt that parents’ genders are irrelevant to children’s developmental outcomes.”
“Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage; marriage under law is a union of equals.”
“Many of the purported interests identified by proponents are nothing more than a fear or unarticulated dislike of same-sex couples.”