DOJ asks high court to prioritize DOMA challenge

Edith Windsor

Edith Windsor

BY CHRIS JOHNSON
Washington Blade

The Obama administration is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to make the case of an 83-year-old New York lesbian who had to pay $363,000 in estate taxes its highest priority among the pending lawsuits challenging the Defense of Marriage Act.

In an 11-page supplemental brief filed on Friday, U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli writes that the case of Windsor v. United States — which recently led the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals to conclude DOMA is unconstitutional — should take precedence among other pending lawsuits challenging the anti-gay law.

Previously, the Justice Department has said the consolidated case of Gill v. Office of Personnel Management and Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Department of Health & Human Services — which was filed respectively by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley — should be the priority because the case once was the only one in which an appeals court ruled against DOMA.

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