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Windsor v. United States

797 F.Supp. 2d 320 (2011), 699 F.3d 169 (2d Cir. 2012), aff'd on other grounds, 133 S.Ct. 558 (2013)

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Windsor v. United States

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York

797 F.Supp. 2d 320 (2011), 699 F.3d 169 (2d Cir. 2012), aff'd on other grounds, 133 S.Ct. 558 (2013)

Facts

Edith Windsor’s (plaintiff’s) wife, Thea Spyer, died in 2009. Because the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) prohibited the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, the IRS required Spyer’s estate to pay federal tax on Windsor’s inheritance that would have been waived under the estate-tax marital deduction. Windsor filed this action against the United States (defendant) challenging the constitutionality of DOMA in 2010. The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed an answer supporting DOMA’s constitutionality on behalf of the United States. In 2011 the DOJ gave notice that it would no longer defend DOMA’s constitutionality. The DOJ also notified the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the change so that the House would have an opportunity to defend DOMA’s constitutionality. Soon after, the House’s Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) (intervenor) filed a motion to intervene. The DOJ requested that although BLAG should appear, its appearance should be limited to arguing in favor of DOMA’s constitutionality and the DOJ alone should file procedural motions. BLAG seeks to intervene as a full party to the action.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Francis IV, J.)

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