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Fallacious Attacks on Obama for His Stance on DOMA

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A number of attacks on President Obama for his decision no longer to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) have been based on a fallacy: that the administration has decided no longer to enforce DOMA. The administration has made no such decision. The administration will continue to enforce the DOMA, but will no longer defend challenges to the constitutionality of DOMA in the courts. This is a big and important difference, but the Newt Gingriches and Sarah Palins have in fact decided no longer to worry about whether their political attacks are based on fact or fiction. More on this later. There, I said it.

But apparently a There, I Said It! submission is supposed to be at least 150 words, so it appears I am not yet finished. Let me assure you that I will be blogging more on DOMA, same-sex marriage, the Republican assault on women’s reproductive rights, and related issues.

There, I said it.

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About Michael Broder

  • Kenn Jacobine


    I just submitted an article on this issue. Whatever, Holder said the administration is going to do, I believe the president does have the right to nullify laws when they are unconstitutional. This law is clearly unconstitutional for a variety of reasons.

  • Cannonshop

    #2 I disagree with you, Kenn, the Administration has the same right to CHALLENGE laws that the rest of us do, but the law is the law, and the Executive is tasked with enforcing it.

    on the subject of DOMA in particular, well…

    That IS a law that should not stand-but it needs to be taken down the RIGHT way-either in court, or by repeal through the legislative process.

  • Off the books, the president can also ignore legislation (or circumvent it with the use of executive orders). It’s not a written power, but given the sheer amount of authority the office has, it is an unofficial component of the checks and balances system.

  • Boeke

    This case appears to be similar to GWBs 700 “signing statements” WRT legislation passed by congress. GWBs demur (as given to him by government lawyers) was that the laws passed may contain language that would put the president into an unconstitutional situation, and that is prohibited by “separation of powers” . The idea was that such language would not be enforced until a constitutional test was performed and judged by SCOTUS. Of course, this leaves a burden on the executive to actually bring such a constitutional test at a later time (which, one may note, GWB never did).

    Separation of powers bars a legislative law that would obligate the executive branch to act unconstitutionally.

  • Boeke

    As for the merits of DOMA itself, IMO DOMA is plainly unconstitutional because it violates equal protection under the 14th amendment. In fact, all laws that give preference to marrieds appear to be unconstitutional. We should get rid of DOMA rather than fight over who is allowed into the privileged group.

  • Clavos

    …Or outlaw marriage for anyone.

    But then, what would we do for stress?