Holder: State AGs May Ignore Gay Marriage Bans

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    Feb 25, 2014 1:17 AM GMT
    Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said Monday that state attorneys general who believe that laws in their states banning same-sex marriage are discriminatory are not obligated to defend them.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/25/us/holder-says-state-attorneys-general-dont-have-to-defend-gay-marriage-bans.html?hp
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    Feb 25, 2014 3:38 AM GMT
    It is a good question. That would fly only if federal laws preempt state laws.
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    Feb 25, 2014 4:45 PM GMT
    woodsmen saidIt is a good question. That would fly only if federal laws preempt state laws.


    It does not. From the GLAAD website:

    "What is DOMA?

    The so-called "Defense of Marriage Act," or DOMA, was passed in 1996 by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. The part that was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court is called "Section Three," which prevented the federal government from recognizing any marriages between gay or lesbian couples for the purpose of federal laws or programs, even if those couples are considered legally married by their home state. The other significant part of DOMA makes it so that individual states do not legally have to acknowledge the relationships of gay and lesbian couples who were married in another state. Only the section that dealt with federal recognition was ruled unconstitutional."

    It does bring up the issue -- what happens to federal benefits when a couple that is legally married in one state moves to another state that doesn't recognize the marriage. I think the federal recognition still continues, despite the state claiming the marriage is invalid.


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    Feb 25, 2014 4:59 PM GMT
    rkyjockdn saidIt does bring up the issue -- what happens to federal benefits when a couple that is legally married in one state moves to another state that doesn't recognize the marriage. I think the federal recognition still continues, despite the state claiming the marriage is invalid.

    I think this is true and the only person that truly benefits in this is the tax accountant because you have to have someone that knows what status to file with what return! What a mess!
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    Feb 25, 2014 6:50 PM GMT
    woodsmen saidIt is a good question. That would fly only if federal laws preempt state laws.
    Federal laws do trump state laws ....
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    Feb 25, 2014 6:51 PM GMT
    ^ Not everything. For example, the states decide intestacy law among many things. In the area of marriage, it is complicated as there are two frameworks but all have to be equal under the constitution.
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    Feb 25, 2014 6:52 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 saidAnd where in the Constitution does it say he has the authority to do this? (Not targeting you, Woodsmen, just putting the question out there.)

    I can understand how Holder's opinion breaks your heart. Not the answer you want. icon_razz.gif
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    Feb 25, 2014 7:10 PM GMT
    The question is about consistency. If the situation were a little different, would you want law enforcement to ignore laws they don't like, violating the vows of their office? Is it ok for a city or other local attorney general to ignore certain laws within his own state? If you answer yes, then the only consistency allowed is the Saul Alinsky MO, which is that the end justifies any means.
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    Feb 25, 2014 7:39 PM GMT
    The problem here is some state marriage laws are in conflict with our Constitution as interpreted by multiple federal judges started in California and then Utah and so on.
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    Feb 25, 2014 8:12 PM GMT
    eb925guy said
    rkyjockdn saidIt does bring up the issue -- what happens to federal benefits when a couple that is legally married in one state moves to another state that doesn't recognize the marriage. I think the federal recognition still continues, despite the state claiming the marriage is invalid.

    I think this is true and the only person that truly benefits in this is the tax accountant because you have to have someone that knows what status to file with what return! What a mess!


    Ane then later the tax attorney (one who can represent a taxpayer before the IRS)
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    Feb 25, 2014 8:23 PM GMT
    "The question is about consistency. If the situation were a little different, would you want law enforcement to ignore laws they don't like, violating the vows of their office? Is it ok for a city or other local attorney general to ignore certain laws within his own state? If you answer yes, then the only consistency allowed is the Saul Alinsky MO, which is that the end justifies any means. "

    Well, actually - we *expect* law enforcement to ignore laws some of the time - when common sense trumps a badly written law. Look at the uproar that happens when some overzealous cop throws the book at a citizen for the violation of some little-known, badly written law that was never intended for that purpose anyway?

    I do hope that police officers are not just robots that follow the letter of the law - I would hope they were thinking beings that realize the law is rarely perfect, and occasionally "not see" a violation that doesn't make sense.

    Doctor9
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    Feb 25, 2014 8:53 PM GMT
    The job of an attorney general is not to decide what he likes and dislikes, he is to enforce the laws of his state/jurisdiction. It's up to the legislature to change laws. Otherwise, where do we draw the line, individual choice becomes a dictatorship ruled by the nearest politician, governing on a whim. Marriage laws, no matter how we feel about them, are not on the same page as jaywalking (although, give DeBlasio some time, and they probably will be).
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    Feb 25, 2014 9:39 PM GMT
    Blakes7 saidThe job of an attorney general is not to decide what he likes and dislikes, he is to enforce the laws of his state/jurisdiction. It's up to the legislature to change laws. Otherwise, where do we draw the line, individual choice becomes a dictatorship ruled by the nearest politician, governing on a whim. Marriage laws, no matter how we feel about them, are not on the same page as jaywalking (although, give DeBlasio some time, and they probably will be).

    There is plenty of discretion for the Attorney General and staff to decide what cases to support and what not to support.

    Many cases are presented for prosecution and declined to to any number of reasons including that of no interest in prosecuting due to threshold minimums created simply due to understaffing.

    Steal a candy bar and you probably won't get prosecuted, steal a car and you probably will. Both against the law but discretion allows for that decision.
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    Feb 25, 2014 9:42 PM GMT
    Many Attorney Generals have aspiration beyond their present office. They are likely to look down the road to assess whether doing something now that may affect their electability years from now.
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    Feb 26, 2014 12:22 AM GMT
    Doctor9 said
    I do hope that police officers are not just robots that follow the letter of the law - I would hope they were thinking beings that realize the law is rarely perfect, and occasionally "not see" a violation that doesn't make sense.

    Well, I will tell you what cops "see" in terms of traffic violations. and i've known a few cops, given my background, and here's what they told me.

    They will rarely stop an expensive car, like a Mercedes, a BMW, a Lexus for speeding. Why? Well, a cop friend in Seattle told me.

    It's because they know the owner is more likely to have money, and/or be influential, and will contest the ticket with an attorney. That means a court appearance, that cops hate to make, where they'll be made to look like an idiot. And then the driver will get off anyway, so what's the use?

    I first noticed this living in Seattle. Luxury cars were racing all around me, breaking the speed limit. But the only cars I ever saw pulled over were "working class" cars.

    And now here in South Florida for 7 years I have NEVER seen a single M-B, or a BMW, or a Lexus or Infiniti pulled over for speeding. Not once, not ever. Yet I see those cars flying past me every day, the worst speed offenders.

    When I do see someone stopped by the police it continues to be some "working class" car or truck. How do you explain that?
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    Feb 26, 2014 12:36 AM GMT
    The Attorney General of a state does not have to defend any law that they do not want to, there is no legal precedent that obligates them to do so, at any level of the government. Some states had Jim Crow like language in their constitutions up until a few years ago, would an Attorney General be expected to defend that on account it being just the law?

    It's really no different than a prosecutor deciding to take action on a criminal case, sometimes they legally can do so, but if the evidence isn't all there, it probably isn't going to go to court.
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    Feb 26, 2014 12:38 AM GMT
    In the State of Washington, the Democrat governor specifically did not want to challenge Obamacare but the Republican Attorney General didn't care. He sued the federal government anyway and lost.
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    Feb 26, 2014 12:45 AM GMT
    woodsmen saidIn the State of Washington, the Democrat governor specifically did not want to challenge Obamacare but the Republican Attorney General didn't care. He sued the federal government anyway and lost.

    At what cost to taxpayers, I wonder?
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    Feb 26, 2014 12:48 AM GMT
    The voters paid Rob McKenna back by denying him the governorship. I don't think that lawsuit did much for his prospects at all.
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    Feb 26, 2014 1:06 AM GMT
    eb925guy said
    Blakes7 saidThe job of an attorney general is not to decide what he likes and dislikes, he is to enforce the laws of his state/jurisdiction. It's up to the legislature to change laws. Otherwise, where do we draw the line, individual choice becomes a dictatorship ruled by the nearest politician, governing on a whim. Marriage laws, no matter how we feel about them, are not on the same page as jaywalking (although, give DeBlasio some time, and they probably will be).

    There is plenty of discretion for the Attorney General and staff to decide what cases to support and what not to support.

    Many cases are presented for prosecution and declined to to any number of reasons including that of no interest in prosecuting due to threshold minimums created simply due to understaffing.

    Steal a candy bar and you probably won't get prosecuted, steal a car and you probably will. Both against the law but discretion allows for that decision.


    So that's what happened to D'Souza?
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    Feb 26, 2014 1:08 AM GMT
    The issue is not enforcement but rather defending.
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    Feb 26, 2014 2:48 AM GMT
    ART_DECO said
    woodsmen saidIn the State of Washington, the Democrat governor specifically did not want to challenge Obamacare but the Republican Attorney General didn't care. He sued the federal government anyway and lost.

    At what cost to taxpayers, I wonder?


    Some people don't care.
    http://caught.net/caught/attorn.htm
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    Feb 26, 2014 3:44 AM GMT
    GAMRican said
    ART_DECO said
    woodsmen saidIn the State of Washington, the Democrat governor specifically did not want to challenge Obamacare but the Republican Attorney General didn't care. He sued the federal government anyway and lost.

    At what cost to taxpayers, I wonder?

    Some people don't care.

    Well we know "small government" Teabaggers don't care, if it advances their agenda. Small social services government for us, bloated socially intrusive government for them.