The Department of Justice has asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to expedite an en banc 11-judge appeal of its ruling declaring DOMA unconstitutional in the Karen Golinski case.
Lawyers hired by House Republican leaders, who have defended the law since President Obama switched sides a year ago, have appealed White's ruling to a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit.
But Obama's Justice Department asked the full appeals court Monday to bypass the customary three judges and convene an 11-judge panel.
That procedure would not only expedite the case – the larger panel is the last step before Supreme Court review – but also enable the court to set a stricter standard for laws that deny equal treatment. The panel could overturn the circuit's 1990 ruling allowing such laws to be upheld if they have any rational justification.
Adoption of a more demanding standard, like those used to scrutinize laws based on race or sex, would increase the likelihood of future rulings declaring a right to same-sex marriage. California's Proposition 8, which banned such marriages in 2008, was struck down by a Ninth Circuit panel in a 2-1 ruling last month, but sponsors of the initiative are seeking review from an 11-judge panel.
Chris Geidner has more on the request at MetroWeekly.
Federal Court Rules DOMA Unconstitutional [tlrd]