Prominent Republicans sign onto amicus brief to overturn California’s Prop. 8

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

In other U.S. Supreme Court news on Tuesday, 75 Republicans signed on to an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to make same-sex marriage constitutionally protected in Hollingsworth v. Perry. Republicans Sign Brief in Support of Gay Marriage:

Dozens of prominent Republicans — including top advisers to former President George W. Bush, four former governors and two members of Congress — have signed a legal brief arguing that gay people have a constitutional right to marry, a position that amounts to a direct challenge to Speaker John A. Boehner and reflects the civil war in the party since the November election.

The document will be submitted this week to the Supreme Court in support of a suit seeking to strike down Proposition 8, a California ballot initiative barring same-sex marriage, and all similar bans. The court will hear back-to-back arguments next month in that case and another pivotal gay rights case that challenges the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act.

The Proposition 8 case already has a powerful conservative supporter:
Theodore B. Olson, the former solicitor general under Mr. Bush and one
of the suit’s two lead lawyers. The amicus, or friend-of-the-court,
brief is being filed with Mr. Olson’s blessing. It argues, as he does,
that same-sex marriage promotes family values by allowing children of
gay couples to grow up in two-parent homes, and that it advances
conservative values of “limited government and maximizing individual
freedom.”

Legal analysts said the brief had the potential to sway conservative
justices as much for the prominent names attached to it as for its legal
arguments. The list of signers includes a string of Republican
officials and influential thinkers — 75 as of Monday evening — who are
not ordinarily associated with gay rights advocacy, including some who
are speaking out for the first time and others who have changed their
previous positions.

Among them are Meg Whitman, who supported Proposition 8 when she ran for
California governor; Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and
Richard Hanna of New York; Stephen J. Hadley, a Bush national security
adviser; Carlos Gutierrez, a commerce secretary to Mr. Bush; James B.
Comey, a top Bush Justice Department official; David A. Stockman,
President Ronald Reagan’s first budget director; and Deborah Pryce, a
former member of the House Republican leadership from Ohio who is
retired from Congress.

* * *

Jon M. Huntsman Jr., the former Utah governor, who favored civil unions but opposed same-sex marriage during his 2012 presidential bid, also signed. Last week, Mr. Huntsman announced his new position in an article titled “Marriage Equality Is a Conservative Cause,” a sign that the 2016 Republican presidential candidates could be divided on the issue for the first time.

* * *

Some high-profile Republicans who support same-sex marriage — including
Laura Bush, the former first lady; Dick Cheney, the former vice
president; and Colin L. Powell, a former secretary of state — were not
on the list as of Monday.

But the presence of so many well-known former officials — including
Christine Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey, and William Weld
and Jane Swift, both former governors of Massachusetts — suggests that
once Republicans are out of public life they feel freer to speak out
against the party’s official platform, which calls for amending the
Constitution to define marriage as “the union of one man and one woman.”

* * *

In making an expansive argument that same-sex marriage bans are
discriminatory, the brief’s signatories are at odds with the House
Republican leadership, which has authorized the expenditure of tax
dollars to defend the 1996 marriage law. The law defines marriage in the
eyes of the federal government as the union of a man and a woman.

* * *

Experts say that amicus briefs generally do not change Supreme Court
justices’ minds. But on Monday some said that the Republican brief,
written by Seth P. Waxman, a former solicitor general in the
administration of President Bill Clinton, and Reginald Brown, who served
in the Bush White House Counsel’s Office, might be an exception.

Tom Goldstein, publisher of Scotusblog,
a Web site that analyzes Supreme Court cases, said the amicus filing
“has the potential to break through and make a real difference.”

[The constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is pending before the Court in United States v.Windsor (12-307).]

[The constitutionality of California's Proposition 8 is pending before the Court in Hollingsworth v. Perry (12-144).]

Comments are closed.