United States v. Windsor

Windsor v. United StatesWindsor5-4 votean amicus brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme CourtdecisionDOMADOMA caseDOMA rulingEdith Windsoroverturning
United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. 744 (2013), is a landmark United States Supreme Court civil rights case concerning same-sex marriage.wikipedia
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Edith Windsor

Edie WindsorEdith "Edie" Windsor
Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer, a same-sex couple residing in New York, had their marriage recognized by the state of New York in 2008; Spyer died in 2009, leaving her entire estate to Windsor.
She was the lead plaintiff in the 2013 Supreme Court of the United States case United States v. Windsor, which overturned Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act and was considered a landmark legal victory for the same-sex marriage movement in the United States.

Same-sex marriage in the United States

same-sex marriageUnited Statesgay marriage
United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. 744 (2013), is a landmark United States Supreme Court civil rights case concerning same-sex marriage.
In June 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down DOMA for violating the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution in the landmark civil rights case of United States v. Windsor, leading to federal recognition of same-sex marriage, with federal benefits for married couples connected to either the state of residence or the state in which the marriage was solemnized.

List of landmark court decisions in the United States

landmarklandmark decisionlandmark case
United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. 744 (2013), is a landmark United States Supreme Court civil rights case concerning same-sex marriage.

Supreme Court of the United States

United States Supreme CourtU.S. Supreme CourtSupreme Court
United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. 744 (2013), is a landmark United States Supreme Court civil rights case concerning same-sex marriage.
Some of its major rulings have concerned federal preemption (Wyeth v. Levine), civil procedure (Twombly-Iqbal), abortion (Gonzales v. Carhart), climate change (Massachusetts v. EPA), same-sex marriage (United States v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges) and the Bill of Rights, notably in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (First Amendment), Heller-McDonald (Second Amendment) and Baze v. Rees (Eighth Amendment).

Anthony Kennedy

Justice KennedyKennedyAnthony M. Kennedy
In the majority opinion, which was joined by four other justices, Justice Anthony Kennedy declared Section 3 of DOMA to be unconstitutional "as a deprivation of the liberty of the person protected by the Fifth Amendment".
Kennedy authored the majority opinion in several important cases, including Boumediene v. Bush, Citizens United v. FEC, and four gay rights cases (Romer v. Evans, Lawrence v. Texas, United States v. Windsor, and Obergefell v. Hodges).

Obergefell v. Hodges

ObergefellObergefell vs. HodgesJune Supreme Court ruling
Two years later, in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, the Court struck down all state bans on same-sex marriage, ruling that marriage is guaranteed to same-sex couples by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause.
During a hearing on March 7, 2013, Judge Friedman decided he would delay the case until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry, hoping for guidance.

Roberta A. Kaplan

Roberta KaplanRobbie Kaplan
Finally, she was referred to Roberta Kaplan, a partner at the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, who later recalled: "When I heard her story, it took me about five seconds, maybe less, to agree to represent her".
Kaplan successfully argued before the Supreme Court of the United States on behalf of LGBT rights activist Edith Windsor, in United States v. Windsor, a landmark decision that invalidated a section of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act and required the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages.

Barbara S. Jones

Barbara JonesJudge Barbara Jones
District Judge Barbara S. Jones ruled that Section 3 of DOMA was unconstitutional, and her ruling was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Jones presided over Edith Windsor's suit against the United States, United States v. Windsor, challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.

Antonin Scalia

Justice ScaliaScaliaJustice Antonin Scalia
Three justices filed dissenting opinions, including Justice Antonin Scalia, who argued that the Court had "no power under the Constitution to invalidate this democratically adopted legislation."
Also in 2013, Scalia dissented from the majority opinion in United States v. Windsor.

Defense of Marriage Act

DOMADefense of Marriage Act (DOMA)Defense of Marriage
The Court held that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denied federal recognition of same-sex marriages, was a violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.
The act's provisions were ruled unconstitutional or left effectively unenforceable by Supreme Court decisions in the cases of United States v. Windsor (2013) and Obergefell v. Hodges (2015).

Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management

On February 23, 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder released a statement regarding two lawsuits challenging DOMA Section 3, Windsor and Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management.
On February 23, 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder released a memo regarding two lawsuits challenging DOMA section 3, Pedersen v. OPM and Windsor v. United States stating, "After careful consideration, including a review of my recommendation, the President has concluded that given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimination, classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny. The President has also concluded that section 3 of DOMA, as applied to legally married same-sex couples, fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitutional. Given that conclusion, the President has instructed the Department not to defend the statute in such cases."

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLPPaul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & GarrisonPaul Weiss
Finally, she was referred to Roberta Kaplan, a partner at the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, who later recalled: "When I heard her story, it took me about five seconds, maybe less, to agree to represent her".

Hollingsworth v. Perry

Perry v. SchwarzeneggerPerry v. Brownfederal trial
On the same day, the Court also issued a separate 5–4 decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry that effectively allowed same-sex marriage in California to resume.

Congregation Beit Simchat Torah

Beit Simchat Torah
Both Kaplan and Windsor were members of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah.

Suspect classification

suspect classquasi-suspect classimmutable
Thus they were part of a quasi-suspect class that deserves any law restricting its rights to be subjected to intermediate scrutiny.
Striking down Section 3 of DOMA as unconstitutional in Windsor v. United States (2012), the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals held sexual orientation to be a quasi-suspect classification, and determined that laws that classify people on such basis should be subject to intermediate scrutiny.

Intermediate scrutiny

heightened scrutinycontent neutralexacting scrutiny
Thus they were part of a quasi-suspect class that deserves any law restricting its rights to be subjected to intermediate scrutiny.
On October 18, 2012, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals became the first federal appeals court, in Windsor v. United States, to hold that laws that classify people based on sexual orientation should be subject to intermediate scrutiny.

Kitchen v. Herbert

Herbert v. KitchenUtahUtah case
In December 2013, a U.S. District Court judge ruling in Kitchen v. Herbert found that Baker no longer controlled his decision, because the rule is that "doctrinal developments" can obviate the importance of a dismissal like Baker and given the issues before the court Windsor was "highly relevant and is therefore a significant doctrinal development".
On June 26, 2013, in United States v. Windsor, the United States Supreme Court held that restricting U.S. federal interpretation of "marriage" and "spouse" to apply only to heterosexual unions was unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment, striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Christopher F. Droney

Christopher Droney
On September 27, Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs and Judges Chester J. Straub and Christopher F. Droney heard arguments in the case.
He also provided the deciding vote for the panel in Windsor v. United States, which held that the Equal Protection Clause guaranteed the right of same-sex couples to marry.

Chester J. Straub

Chester Straub
On September 27, Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs and Judges Chester J. Straub and Christopher F. Droney heard arguments in the case.
In 2012, Straub dissented in Windsor v. United States, a case in which the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held in an opinion written by prominent conservative Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs, that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional.

LGBT rights in the United States

LGBT rightsgay rightsLGBTQ rights
In four landmark rulings between the years 1996 and 2015, the Supreme Court invalidated a state law banning protected class recognition based upon homosexuality, struck down sodomy laws nationwide, struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, and made same-sex marriage legal nationwide.

Harvey Brownstone

Canada's first openly gay judge, Justice Harvey Brownstone, officiated.
Brownstone officiated at the marriage of Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer, whose marriage triggered the constitutional litigation at the United States Supreme Court regarding same-sex marriage (United States v. Windsor).

Dennis Jacobs

Dennis G. Jacobs
On September 27, Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs and Judges Chester J. Straub and Christopher F. Droney heard arguments in the case.

Paul Clement

Paul D. Clement
On April 18, 2011, Paul Clement, representing the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the House of Representatives (BLAG), filed a motion asking to be allowed to intervene in the suit "for the limited purpose of defending the constitutionality of Section III" of DOMA.
On March 27, 2013, Clement served for the respondent Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives at the Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor.

Romer v. Evans

Amendment 2Colorado Amendment 2Romer
The decision in Romer set the stage for Lawrence v. Texas (2003), where the Court overruled its decision in Bowers; for the Supreme Court ruling striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in United States v. Windsor (2013); and for the Court's ruling striking down state bans on same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015).

Equal Protection Clause

equal protectionequal protection of the lawsEqual Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment
Two years later, in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, the Court struck down all state bans on same-sex marriage, ruling that marriage is guaranteed to same-sex couples by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause.
In 2013, the Court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, in United States v. Windsor.