Judge Dismisses Golinski DOMA Lawsuit on Procedure, But Leaves Door Open for More Direct Challenge

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White has dismissed a lawsuit challenging DOMA brought by Karen Golinski, a U.S. appeals court lawyer in San Francisco, who was challenging the law in order to obtain benefits for her wife. White also denied a request for an injunction.

Reuters reports: Golinski

Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, acting as a court administrator, ordered Golinski's insurance carrier to provide the benefits.

However, the Office of Personnel Management instructed the insurance carrier not to comply. Golinski sued the personnel office to enforce the order.

In response, administration attorneys did not argue the constitutionality of the law. Rather, they said Kozinski's order was not enforceable through the kind of lawsuit Golinski filed.

White agreed on Wednesday, but wrote that he would address the constitutionality of the law to "unfairly" restrict benefits if it were placed before him. The judge gave Golinski's lawyers a chance to file an amended lawsuit.

Golinski's lawyer says new documents will be filed by April 15.


  1. Dan says

    I can’t believe anyone is trying to defend this outrageously discriminatory law. If you ask me, we are too well-behaved. Why aren’t we marching to Montgomery?

  2. TommyOC says

    @Dan: A favor’s done to us when a judge bounces a lawsuit back to the plaintiffs saying “this is how you need to resubmit it.”

    It ensures that if the ruling goes against the government, they can’t contest it on technical grounds – but rather they’ll have to continue arguing the merits of their own actions.

    Also note how the judge used the word “unfairly” in his writing. That’s a stunning word to use in an issued statement that’s outside of a final ruling. Reading between the line, the judge is siding with the plaintiffs in saying it’s unfair to restrict which couples can get federal employee benefits.

    Of course, at the end of the day, the fix is solicited for one reason: The judge wants to rule on the constituationality of the unfairness. And until his verdict on that issue comes in, it’s a 50/50 decision at this point.

    …but I look at this latest development with optomism.

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