United States Supreme Court
133 S. Ct. 2675 (2013)
In 2007, two women, Edith Windsor (plaintiff) and Thea Spyer, were legally married in Ontario, Canada. Windsor and Spyer returned to New York, which recognized the marriage. Two years later, Spyer died, leaving her estate to Windsor. Windsor claimed the federal estate tax exemption for surviving spouses, but was denied under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), 1 U.S.C. § 7. The provision amends the definition of marriage to a “union between one man and one woman” and defines spouse as an opposite-sex husband or wife. Windsor paid the taxes and sued in federal court, challenging the constitutionality of the restriction. The Attorney General issued a letter notifying Congress that the Department of Justice (DoJ) would not defend DOMA’s constitutionality anymore, though it would continue to enforce the provision. The House of Representatives authorized the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) to defend DOMA on its behalf. BLAG was granted permissive intervention. The district court held that the provision was unconstitutional and Windsor was entitled to a refund. The court of appeals affirmed on the basis of heightened scrutiny for classifications based on sexual orientation. The government and BLAG petitioned the United States Supreme Court for Certiorari, which was granted.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Kennedy, J.)
Dissent (Roberts, C.J.)
Dissent (Scalia, J.)
Dissent (Alito, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 202,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.