By Gina Passarella
Of the Legal Staff
Paul D. Clement and his firm have withdrawn their client from an Eastern District of Pennsylvania case that raised questions of the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.
In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling finding unconstitutional DOMA’s limitation of marriage to between one man and one woman, the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the U.S. House of Representatives has requested to withdraw as intervenor in Cozen O’Connor v. Tobits.
The House, represented by former U.S. Solicitor General Clement and other attorneys at Bancroft PLLC, had intervened in suits across the country to argue in support of DOMA given the Department of Justice had declined to defend the law.
“The Supreme Court recently resolved the issue of DOMA Section 3’s constitutionality,” Clement said in the filing on behalf of BLAG, referring to the high court’s June 26 ruling in U.S. v. Windsor. “Accordingly, the House no longer has a role to play in this litigation and now seeks to withdraw as a party defendant.”
The Tobits case was placed on the suspense docket by U.S. District Judge C. Darnell Jones II of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in September 2012 while the court awaited the outcome of other relevant decisions. When the Supreme Court ruled on the DOMA case last month, the parties in Tobits said they hoped that would jumpstart their case toward a resolution. Other than BLAG’s filing Monday seeking to withdraw as intervenor, there has been no movement on the docket since the high court’s ruling.
Cozen O’Connor filed the interpleader action in January 2011, asking the court to decide whether the parents or wife of a deceased female partner are entitled to the partner’s profit-sharing plan benefits. While both the parents and the partner’s wife, Jennifer Tobits, have argued the court doesn’t need to reach the issue of the constitutionality of DOMA, the parents argued their daughter’s marriage is not recognized under any applicable law in the case.
Read here to see how attorneys expect the Supreme Court’s decisions to impact the Tobits case.