Boehner hires top lawyer for fight over marriage law, sources say
Boehner has recruited former solicitor general Paul Clement to defend DOMA in federal courts.
April 19th, 2011
10:09 AM ET
7 years ago

Boehner hires top lawyer for fight over marriage law, sources say

Washington (CNN) - House Republicans have hired a prominent conservative attorney to defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act in a pending lawsuit, legal sources say, and will make an effort to divert money from the Justice Department to fund its high-profile fight.

House Speaker John Boehner disclosed the legal and political strategy in a letter Monday to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. The Obama administration, which normally would defend federal laws in judicial disputes, announced last month it believed the Defense of Marriage Act, often referred to as DOMA, to be unconstitutional. The law defines marriage for federal purposes as unions only between a man and woman.


Filed under: John Boehner • Paul Clement
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. tulsa, ok

    He better not be using taxpayer money for this.
    Too bad the Republicans have yet to offer ONE SINGLE JOBS BILL. They're ok with invading my bedroom and taking away my right to collectively bargain, but hey, that's just satisfying the Koch bros. Right Johnny boy?

    April 19, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  2. Sniffit

    Fighting this for political reasons only. DOMA has been fairly obviously unconstitutional from the get-go and isn't surviving this challenge. Waste of time and money..all so the GOP can score points with their base, who self-declares their moral superiority and tries constantly to institutionalize it in our laws.


    April 19, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  3. Peter E

    Marriage is a sacred institution in the sight of God! And the First Amendment of the United States Constitution clearly states that Congress shall make no law establishing or prohibiting the free practice of religion. Therefore no law is constitutional that would force one religion to recognize marriages it doesn't want to, and cannot deny another religion to recognize marriages if it does want to.

    April 19, 2011 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  4. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Republicans have been harping over the economy and job creation throughout the past 2 years. Now that they are in power again they have thus far introduced... ZERO job bills!

    April 19, 2011 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  5. Nick , California

    Where are the jobs!!!! The Republicans seem to only know one trick these days and its FEAR. When they are down in the polls.. FEAR.... When they ran on job creation and are instead trying to push their narrow view of the world on the American public.. FEAR.. Get back to work for the people. Social issues are not the priority!!!!!!!!!!!! Banning gays from being able to marry does not move the economy forward!!!!!!

    April 19, 2011 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  6. gt

    why do we have to waste time and money on this... there is a law enforce it .... dont pick and choose.... what you want to enforce holder,,,

    April 19, 2011 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    The law is unconstitutional on grounds that have little or nothing to do with the immediate issue, same sex marriage. I do not approve of same sex marriage, but there is nothing in our current laws to prohibit it. In fact, there is existing law the would appear to prohibit the passing of laws that would regulate it any way shape or form.

    This case could carry some very far reaching consequences should it be heard in the SCOTUS. Brown vs. Bd. of Ed. has firmly established that the practice of "separate but equal" was unconstitutional. To allow laws that prohibit same sex marriage but allow for the creation of a separate type of marital status is a blantant contradiction of "separate but equal".

    Also, you may wish to take a look at the 14th amendment that prohibits states from passing laws the curtail the rights of individuals. The same amendment that was successfully cited in Brown vs. Bd. of Ed.. The same amendment that we have heard so much recent talk about repealing and amending.

    Pay attention people.

    April 19, 2011 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  8. OneMoreTime

    Now, be fair guys, the Republicans gave this guy a job and we get to pay his salary. They must be exhausted by now
    with this new job creation, so they have to go home for Easter and rest their tired little minds.

    April 19, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  9. BostonianTheWoodlandsTX

    What ??????

    Ken Starr wasn't available ?

    Yet again the republicans are wasting time on something that does nothing to move this country foward.

    April 19, 2011 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  10. The Day of Financial Reckoning is HERE - The Great Democrat Welfare Society Ends

    I always thought it was the job of the Supreme Court to declare laws unconstitutional? Silly me. I guess all we really need is an imperial President and a Justice Dept. that does his bidding. Amazing considering Obama supposedly taught constitutional law. Sure makes one wonder what the heck he was teaching the kids.

    April 19, 2011 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  11. Rick McDaniel

    The GOP has to give up their bigoted crusade against the gay community.

    April 19, 2011 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  12. Jeff in Virginia

    I am so glad to see that the focus is on JOBS, and not the culture war. Oh wait...

    April 19, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  13. Fair is Fair


    Legislation does not create jobs. Legislation can only create the atmosphere for entrepreneurs to take the risk, with enough comfort, that makes job creation possible.

    April 19, 2011 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  14. GI Joe

    I've finally figured out his ties – he wears lace panties to match them (then he can fight like a girl and whine and cry when he doesn't get everything HE wants).

    Where are the jobs, sweet little Joni? That's what republicans ran on in 2009. WHERE ARE THE JOBS?

    April 19, 2011 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  15. Rudy NYC

    At least this action by Boehner will create some jobs at a law firm. Maybe.

    April 19, 2011 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  16. The Day of Financial Reckoning is HERE - The Great Democrat Welfare Society Ends

    Legislation does not create jobs. Legislation can only create the atmosphere for entrepreneurs to take the risk, with enough comfort, that makes job creation possible.
    Not entirely true... Legislation can create GOVERNMENT UNION JOBS. Which are OVERHEAD and a drag on the private sector that then gets taxed to pay for these "jobs".

    April 19, 2011 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  17. SD

    So much for the Republican position on States rights, a small Federal government, and the Federal government not taking on powers that aren't granted in the Constitution.

    Peter E – The Constitution does not force ANY religion to perform of recognize ANY type of marriage let alone gay ones. Nor does it force any State to perform a gay marriage. It simply says that if one state passes a law that permits marriage, other states have to recognize it. It's no different than Vegas. Most Catholics would consider a Vegas "quicky" marriage by Elvis to be a sham by any religious standpoint. But it's legal because the Constitution says that individual states make marriage law not Churches or the Federal government.

    April 19, 2011 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  18. tulsa, ok

    Peter E.
    You make the point for the progressives..... Don't tell me who I can't marry.

    April 19, 2011 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  19. Ryan NC

    Why my taxpayer money has to go to pay for the salary of someone that will take away my rights to equality? Mr. Boehner think about jobs and employ OUR money in a better way or lose your job!

    April 19, 2011 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  20. Four More For Sure!

    This does not create jobs. This does not cut expenses. This adds to expenses to those of us that pay taxes (unlike some big corporations that the GOP loves to protect). I do not want my hard earned tax dollars going towards some sort of discriminatory witch hunt that has nothing to do with the Constitution.

    April 19, 2011 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  21. Robert Holt

    Marriage is only between a man and a woman. To say that two people of the same sex are married, is ridiculous and an abomination. If the United States were to recognize two people of the same sex as married, it would be another step downward for this nation.

    April 19, 2011 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  22. ABM

    Your promise before the election was Congress's focus on creating JOBS? Where are the JOBS? Once again the lies from the GOP have been proven. Promises have been broken. Time for another sweeping of the Congress to get rid of the career pols who do not care about the American people.

    April 19, 2011 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  23. peace

    I miss nancy this man knows nothing about being a leader.

    April 19, 2011 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  24. ABM

    Is same-sex marriage really such a bad thing? This really crosses the seperation between CHURCH and STATE. This is no reason to reject two adults from entering into a union. No legal foundation to reject it all. Time to do away with the narrow-minded laws and let peope do what they like in this country. The word FREEDOM has to stand for something. Why not let these folks do what they like. They are not harming anyone.

    April 19, 2011 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  25. rs

    It's always nice to see the Republican/Tea Party coming out AGAINST civil rights. They are the party of the nineteenth century.

    April 19, 2011 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
1 2