699 F.3d 169 (2nd Cir. 2012), 12-2335-cv(L), Windsor v. United States

Docket Nº:12-2335-cv(L), 12-2435(Con).
Citation:699 F.3d 169
Opinion Judge:DENNIS JACOBS, Chief Judge:
Party Name:Edith Schlain WINDSOR, in her Official Capacity as Executor of the Estate of Thea Clara Spyer, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. UNITED STATES of America, Defendant-Appellant, and Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives, Intervenor-Defendant-Appellant.
Attorney:Stuart F. Delery, Acting Assistant Attorney General, United States Department of Justice, Washington, DC (Michael Jay Singer, August E. Flentje, on the brief), for Defendant-Appellant. Paul D. Clement, Bancroft PLLC, Washington, DC (H. Christopher Bartolomucci, Conor B. Dugan, and Nicholas J. Nel...
Judge Panel:Before: JACOBS, Chief Judge, STRAUB and DRONEY, Circuit Judges. Judge STRAUB dissents in part and concurs in part in a separate opinion. STRAUB, Circuit Judge, dissenting in part and concurring in part:
Case Date:October 18, 2012
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
 
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699 F.3d 169 (2nd Cir. 2012)

Edith Schlain WINDSOR, in her Official Capacity as Executor of the Estate of Thea Clara Spyer, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

UNITED STATES of America, Defendant-Appellant,

and

Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives, Intervenor-Defendant-Appellant.

Nos. 12-2335-cv(L), 12-2435(Con).

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

October 18, 2012

Argued: Sept. 27, 2012.

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Stuart F. Delery, Acting Assistant Attorney General, United States Department of Justice, Washington, DC (Michael Jay Singer, August E. Flentje, on the brief), for Defendant-Appellant.

Paul D. Clement, Bancroft PLLC, Washington, DC (H. Christopher Bartolomucci, Conor B. Dugan, and Nicholas J. Nelson, on the brief; Kerry W. Kircher, William Pittard, Christine Davenport, Todd B. Tatelman, Mary Beth Walker, Office of General Counsel, United States House of Representatives, Washington, DC, of counsel), for Intervenor-Defendant-Appellant.

Roberta A. Kaplan, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, New York, N.Y. (Andrew J. Ehrlich, Jaren Janghorbani, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, New York, NY, James D. Esseks and Rose A. Saxe, American Civil Liberties Union, New York, NY, and Melissa Goodman, Arthur Eisenberg, and Mariko Hirose, New York Civil Liberties Union Foundation, New York, NY, on the brief), for Appellee.

Vincent P. McCarthy, Litchfield, CT, for amicus curiae American College of Pediatricians in support of Intervenor-Defendant-Appellant.

Joseph A. Campbell, Alliance Defending Freedom, Scottsdale, AZ, for amicus curiae Frederick Douglas Foundation in support of Intervenor-Defendant-Appellant.

Cecilia Noland-Heil, American Center for Law & Justice, Virginia Beach, VA (Erik Zimmerman, Jay Alan Sekulow and Stuart J. Roth, American Center for Law & Justice, Virginia Beach, VA and Washington, DC, on the brief), for amici curiae Former Attorneys General Edwin Meese III and John Ashcroft in support of Intervenor-Defendant-Appellant.

Gregory F. Zoeller, Attorney General, State of Indiana, Indianapolis, IN (Thomas M. Fisher, Solicitor General, Ellen H. Meilaender, Deputy Attorney General, on the brief), for amici curiae States of Indiana, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and Virginia in support of Intervenor-Defendant-Appellant.

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Joshua K. Baker, National Organization for Marriage, Washington, DC (William C. Duncan, Marriage Law Foundation, Lehi, UT, on the brief), for amicus curiae National Organization for Marriage in support of Intervenor-Defendant-Appellant.

Steven W. Fitschen, The National Legal Foundation, Virginia Beach, VA, for amicus curiae Concerned Women for America in support of Intervenor-Defendant-Appellant.

William F. Sheehan, Goodwin Procter LLP, Washington, DC (Andrew S. Hudson, Goodwin Procter LLP, Washington, DC and Nathalie F.P. Gilfoyle, American Psychological Association, Washington, DC, on the brief), for amici curiae the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychoanalytic Association, the National Association of Social Workers and its New York City and State Chapters, and the New York State Psychological Association in support of Plaintiff-Appellee.

Susan L. Sommer, Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund, Inc., New York, N.Y. (Timothy S. Fisher and Brian P. Rice, McCarter & English, LLP, Hartford, CT and Shannon P. Minter and Christopher F. Stoll, National Center for Lesbian Rights, San Francisco, CA, on the brief), for amici curiae Bar Associations and Public Interest and Legal Service Organizations in Support of Plaintiff-Appellee.

Matthew F. Damm, O' Melveny & Myers LLP, New York, N.Y. (Dawn Sestito, Dimitri D. Portnoi, and Amy R. Lucas, O'Melveny & Myers LLP, Los Angeles, CA and New York, NY, on the brief), for amici curiae Family Law Professors in Support of Plaintiff-Appellee.

Michael A. Cardozo, Corporation Counsel of the City of New York, New York, N.Y. (Francis F. Caputo, Susan Paulson, on the brief), for amici curiae the City of New York, the Council of the City of New York, Michael R. Bloomberg, in His Official Capacity as Mayor of the City of New York, and Christine C. Quinn, in Her Official Capacity as Speaker of the Council of the City of New York in Support of Plaintiff-Appellee.

Marc Wolinsky, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, New York, N.Y. (Jonathan M. Moses, Kevin S. Schwartz, Luke M. Appling, on the brief), for amicus curiae the Partnership for New York City in Support of Plaintiff-Appellee.

Suzanne B. Goldberg, Columbia Law School, New York, NY, for amicus curiae Columbia Law School Sexuality & Gender Law Clinic in Support of Plaintiff-Appellee.

Catherine R. Connors, Pierce Atwood LLP, Portland, ME, for amici curiae Historians in Support of Plaintiff-Appellee.

Miriam R. Nemetz, Mayer Brown LLP, Washington, DC (Kathleen Connery Dawe and Michael B. Kimberly, Mayer Brown LLP, Washington, DC, and Heather C. Sawyer, Committee on the Judiciary, John Conyers, Jr., and Jerrold Nadler, Ranking Members, Washington, DC), for amici curiae Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, in Support of Plaintiff-Appellee.

Nicole G. Berner, Washington, DC (James B. Coppess, AFL-CIO, Washington, DC, Patrick Szymanski, Change to Win, Washington, DC, and Alice O'Brien, National Education Association, Washington, DC, on the brief), for amici curiae American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, Change to Win, and National Education Association in support of Plaintiff-Appellee.

Joseph F. Tringali, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, New York, N.Y. (Alexandra

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C. Pitney and Nicholas S. Davis, on the brief), for amici curiae Service and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders (SAGE), National Senior Citizens Law Center and American Society on Aging in support of Plaintiff-Appellee.

Debo P. Adegbile, NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, Inc., New York, N.Y. (Elice C. Boddie, Rachel M. Kleinman, Ria A. Tabacco, Joshua Civin, NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, Inc., New York, NY, and Washington, DC), for amicus curiae NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, Inc., in support of Plaintiff-Appellee.

Harvey J. Wolkoff, Ropes & Gray LLP, New York, N.Y. (Stuart W. Yothers and Samuel P. Bickett, Ropes & Gray LLP, New York, N.Y. and Steven M. Freeman and Seth M. Marnin, Anti-Defamation League, New York, NY, on the brief), for amici curiae Anti-Defamation League, Central Conference of American Rabbis, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice, Hadassah: the Women's Zionist Organization of America, the Hindu American Foundation, Interfaith Alliance Foundation, Japanese Citizens League, the Justice and Witness Ministries: United Church of Christ, National Counsel of Jewish Women, People for the American Way Foundation, Union for Reform Judaism, Women's League for Conservative Judaism, and Women of Reform Judaism in support of Plaintiff-Appellee.

Sharon L. Nelles, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, New York, N.Y. (H. Rodgin Cohen, Mitchell S. Eitel, William H. Wagener, Heather H. Volik, Diana G. Iskelov, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, New York, N.Y. and Laura W. Brill and Meaghan Field, Kendall Brill & Klieger LLP, Los Angeles, CA, on the brief), for amici curiae Professors of Family and Child Welfare Law in support of Plaintiff-Appellee.

Eric T. Schneiderman, Attorney General, State of New York, New York, N.Y. (William H. Sorrell, Attorney General, State of Vermont, Montpelier, VT and George Jepsen, Attorney General, State of Connecticut, Hartford, CT, on the brief) for amici curiae States of New York, Vermont, and Connecticut in support of neither party.

Melanie Sloan, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Washington, DC, (Anne L. Weismann, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Washington, DC and Alan B. Morrison, George Washington Law School, Washington, DC, on the brief), for amicus curiae Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington in support of neither party.

Before: JACOBS, Chief Judge, STRAUB and DRONEY, Circuit Judges.

Judge STRAUB dissents in part and concurs in part in a separate opinion.

DENNIS JACOBS, Chief Judge:

Plaintiff Edith Windsor sued as surviving spouse of a same-sex couple that was married in Canada in 2007 and was resident in New York at the time of her spouse's death in 2009. Windsor was denied the benefit of the spousal deduction for federal estate taxes under 26 U.S.C. § 2056(A) solely because Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (" DOMA" ), 1 U.S.C. § 7, defines the words " marriage" and " spouse" in federal law in a way that bars the Internal Revenue Service from recognizing Windsor as a spouse or the couple as married. The text of § 3 is as follows:

In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word " marriage"

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means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, the word " spouse" refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.

1 U.S.C. § 7. At issue is Windsor's claim for a refund in the amount of $363,053, which turns on the constitutionality of that section of federal law.

For the reasons that follow we hold that:

I.

Windsor has standing in this action because we predict that New York, which did not permit same-sex marriage to be licensed until 2011, would nevertheless have recognized Windsor and Thea Clara Spyer as married at the time of Spyer's death in 2009, so that Windsor was a surviving...

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