Windsor v. The United States Of America

Filing 99

Letter addressed to Judge Barbara S. Jones from Roberta A. Kaplan dated 5/29/2012 re: We write on behalf of plaintiff Edie Windsor to bring to the Court's attention a decision issued last week by Judge Claudia Wilken of the Northern District of California holding that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA") is unconstitutional in a case that presents substantially similar facts and raises similar legal issues as the above-captioned matter currently pending before Your Honor. Document filed by Edith Schlain Windsor.(ama)

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PAUL, WEISS, RIFKIND, WHARTON 1285 AVENUE OF THE AMERICAS NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10019-6064 & GARRISON LLP UNIT 3601, FORTUNE PLAZA OFFICE TOWER A NO.7 DONG SANHUAN ZHONGLU CHAO YANG DISTRICT TELEPHONE (212J 373·3000 BEIJING 100020 PEOPLE's REPUBLIC OF CHINA TELEPHONE (66·10) 5626·6300 LLOYD K. GARRISON ( 1946·1991 l RANDOLPH E. PAUL (1946·1956) SIMON H. RIFKIND LOUIS S. WEISS (1950·1995) ( 1927-1950) JOHN F. WHARTON (1927-1977) 12TH FLOOR. HONG KONG CLUB BUILDING 3A CHATER ROAD, CENTRAL HONG KONG TELEPHONE (652) 2846·0300 ALDER CASTLE 10 NOBLE STREET LONDON EC2V 7JU, U.K. WRITER'S DIRECT DIAL NUMBER TELEPHONE (44 20) 7367 1600 (212) 373-3086 FUKOKU SEIMEI BUILDING 2·2 UCHiSAtWAICHO 2~CHOME WRITER'S DIRECT FACSIMILE CHIVODA-KU, TOKYO 10Q-001 t, JAPAN TELEPHONE (81·3) 3597·8101 (212) 373-2037 TORONTO-DOMINION CENTRE 77 tHONE (416} 504·0520 WRITER'S DIRECT E•MAIL ADDRESS rkaplan @paulweiss.com 2001 K STREET, NW WASHINGTON, DC 20006·1047 TELEPHONE (202) 223·7300 500 DELAWARE AVENUE, SUITE 200 POST OFFICE BOX 32 May 29,2012 MAFIK , JULIA T.M. WOOD JORDAN E. YARETT KAYE N. YOSHINO TONGYU TRACEY A. ZACCONE WILMJNGTON, OE 19899-0032 TELEPHONE {302) 655-4410 T. ROBERT ZOCHOWSKI, JR. '"NOT AOMITTED TO THE NEW YORK BAR VIA FACSIMILE AND HAND DELIVERY The Honorable Barbara S. Jones United States District Court Southern District ofNew York 500 Pearl Street New York, NY 10007 Windsor v. United States, Dear Judge Jones: We write on behalf ofplaintiffEdie Windsor to bring to the Court's attention a decision issued last week by Judge Claudia Wilken of the Northern District of -alifornia holding that Section 3 ofthe Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA") is unconstitutional in a case that presents substantially similar facts and raises similar legal issues as the above-captioned matter currently pending before Your Honor. See Dragovich v. Dep 't ofTreasury, No. C 10-1564 (CW) (N.D. CaL May 24, 2012). In particular, after recounting the legislative history behind the denial of federal legal recognition for same-sex couples, id. at 6-10, the Dragovich court held that "animus toward, and moral rejection of, homosexuality and san-ie-sex relationships are apparent in the Congressional record." Id. at 21. The court also dismissed each ofBLAG's proffered rationales for Section 3 of DOMA as failing to satisfy rational basis scrutiny. The court first held that "the preservation of marriage as an institution that excludes gay men and lesbians for the sake of tradition is not a legitimate governmental PAUL, WEISS, RIFKIND, WHARTON & GARRISON LLP The Honorable Barbara S. Jones 2 interest" because "( u ]nder equal protection jurisprudence, tradition is not a legally acceptable reason to prohibit a practice that historically has been the subject of social disapprobation." Id. at 22. Noting that DOMA "established an across-the-board federal definition of marriage limiting it to heterosexual couples, and preempt[ed] any opportunity to test the impact of state laws evolving to recognize same-sex marriage," the Dragovich court further held that Section 3 of DOMA was not "a cautious legislative step." ld. at 24. In addition, the court held that "[t]he desire to save money is not sufficient to justify§ 3 of the DOMA" because "even crediting cost-savings as a conceivable policy goal, groups selected to bear the burden of legislative enactments to save money must be rationally, not arbitrarily, chosen." Id. at 26-27 (citations omitted). The court also rejected a purported interest in "uniformity in eligibility for federal benefits," holding that"[a]n enactment that precludes federal recognition of certain marriages because they involve same-sex couples cannot be justified as promoting uniformity where federal law otherwise accepts wide variation in state marriage law." !d. at 27-28. Finally, the court considered the purported rationale of encouraging "responsible procreation," and held that the relationship between DOMA and this supposed interest lacked a rational basis. !d. at 28-31. The court also rejected BLAG's reliance on Baker v. Nelson, 409 U.S. 810 (1972), holding that "Baker does not foreclose Plaintiffs' equal protection claim." Dragovich, No. C 10-1564, at 15. As a result of the enclosed opinion, as of today' s date and since 2010 (the year in which the Complaint in the above-captioned matter was filed), four federal district or bankruptcy courts have agreed that Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional for the very reasons asserted by Ms. Windsor. See id.; Golinski v. Office of Pers. Mgmt., 824 F. Supp. 2d 968 (N.D. Cal. 2012); Gil/v. Office ofFers. Mgmt., 699 F. Supp. 2d 374 (D. Mass. 2010); In re Balas, 449 B.R. 567 (Bankr. C.D. Cal. 2011). For the reasons stated in our letter to the Court dated March 29, 2012, in which we and the Department of Justice respectfully requested an expeditious decision on the pending dispositive motions, we respectfully renew our request that the Court decide this matter as soon as practicable. Respectfully submitted, ~~/Nr~ Roberta A. Kaplan Enclosure cc (via email): Paul D. Clement, Esq. H. Christopher Bartolomucci, Esq. James D. Esseks, Esq. Jean Lin, Esq.