In Court, Obama Admin. For—and Against—Judicial Activism

Boston, MA – Lawyers for the federal government today sought the same objective their boss, President Obama, blasted earlier in the week—judicial invalidation of a federal law.

In a press conference Monday, Pres. Obama said he did not think the Supreme Court would take the “unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.” The President further said that striking down the Affordable Care Act would be the type of “judicial activism” decried by conservatives.

Meanwhile, lawyers for the Obama Administration today urged the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston to strike down another democratically enacted federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Words like “prejudice,” “animus,” “irrational” and even “revolutionary” were used by lawyers today to describe the affirmation of traditional marriage in DOMA, which was signed into law by President Clinton.

The First Circuit case is being closely followed by marriage advocates across the country because it could become the first to reach the Supreme Court and lead to a blockbuster decision with nationwide implications. Pacific Justice Institute filed an amicus brief with the court in Boston, highlighting the unprecedented nature of the federal government’s demand for heightened scrutiny of DOMA. The Obama Administration initially offered a contorted defense of DOMA in the lower courts before abandoning its defense and joining the plaintiffs.

PJI President Brad Dacus noted, “This Administration has it exactly backwards on marriage and health care. Reaffirming what Western Civilization has always believed about marriage is not revolutionary. The explosion of federal power we are seeing as epitomized by the health care takeover—now that’s revolutionary, and it must be reined in by the Supreme Court.”