Supreme Court Strikes Down DOMA

by Paul Siciliano


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 In the final day of this session of the U.S. Supreme Court, it published its long awaited decision of U.S. v. Windsor  (my analysis here).  The Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA") as unconstitutional.  The Court found that it was a violation of the liberty right granted in the Fifth Amendment for the federal government to redefine marriage, for federal law purposes, to exclude same-sex marriages that were legally performed in a state.   

Some of this highlights of Kennedy's opinion: 

DOMA seeks to injure the very class New York seeks to protect.  By doing so it violates basic due process and equal protection principles applicable to the Federal Government.
The liberty protection by the Fifth's Amendment Due Process Clause contains within it the prohibition against denying to any person the equal protection of the laws.  While the Fifth Amendment itself withdraws from Government the power to degrade or demean in the way this law does, the equal protection guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment makes the Fifth Amendment right all the more specific and all the better understood and preserved.