Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Does anyone believe the now-spent $1.5M is all "Sunny John" Boehner will ram through for the defense of DOMA ignorance and hatred?


"For more than a year, Speaker Boehner and Congressional Republicans have committed valuable taxpayer dollars to defending discrimination and preserving inequality -- only to lose case after case in their effort to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act. There is nothing effective or efficient about this utter abuse of the people's trust or the public purse; it is simply wasteful and wrong, and Americans deserve better."
-- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

by Ken

I guess from the right-wing-crackpot standpoint, the $1.5M can't be considered thrown in the garbage as long as it was spent, however futilely, in furtherance of the rule of ignorance and hatred. Really, can you put a price tag on the attempt to defend primitive savagery?

This is the money, you'll recall, that Speaker "Sunny John" Boehner rammed through the House under the auspices of the comically misnamed Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, more suitably known by its acronym, BLAG.
The Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) has been a standing body of the U.S. House of Representatives since 1993. Comprising five members of the House leadership (the Speaker, the majority and minority leaders, the majority and minority whips), it directs the activities of the House Office of General Counsel. BLAG can direct the General Counsel to file an amicus curiae brief in cases involving the interests of the House or can call for legislation or a House resolution authorizing the General Counsel to represent the House itself. -- Wikipedia
If the speaker can't count on the votes of the majority leader and majority whip, then he or she really should be in a different line of work. And those are the three votes that Boehner has used to allocate $1.5M (so far -- that was already bumped up last October from the originally announced $550K) to defend the indefensible Defense of Marriage Act in the courts ever since the administration announced that it no longer would, because it's persuaded that the act is unconstitutional. As the Washington Blade's Chris Johnson reported today (more links onsite):
On Tuesday, Democrats on the Committee on House Administration made public a report stating the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group — which took up defense of DOMA after the Obama administration announced in February 2011 it would no longer defend the law in court — has reached expenses totaling out to $1,447,996.73 over the course of fiscal years 2011 and 2012.

That’s just shy of the $1.5 million cost cap that House Republicans set last year to pay private attorney Paul Clement, a former U.S. solicitor general under the Bush administration, to defend DOMA. Thus far, Clement has lost in five federal courts against lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of DOMA — most notably after U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals became the first appellate court to strike down the law.
As a matter of fact, as Chris reports, more money has already been spent than that $1,447,996.73 shelled out in fiscal years 2011 and 2012, which only goes through the end of the last reported billing period, August 15. "More activity in defending DOMA has already occurred since that time," Chris notes, "including Clement's defense of DOMA late last month before the U.S. Second Circuit of Appeals against New York widow Edith Windsor’s challenge to the law.

(Speaking of hired legal hatchet man Paul Clement, while I realize the whole $15.M -- and counting -- doesn't go into his pocket, you have to hope he's got a good tax guy, 'cause the zealous defense of bigotry and hatred could cost him a hefty tax bite. Oh wait, what am I saying? A high-priced right-wing Village shyster not have a good tax guy? What are the odds?)

Back to the minority leader:
Pelosi added that it's "unconscionable" for House Republicans -- including Chair of the Committee on House Administration Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) -- to have authorized a contract to hire a private attorney to defend the DOMA in court and renewed her call for them "to drop their frivolous, taxpayer-funded lawsuits without any delay."

"Rather than join Democrats to create jobs and strengthen the middle class, Republicans refuse to abandon their reprehensible fight to deny basic civil rights and justice to an entire group of their fellow Americans," Pelosi said. "The American people should no longer have to foot the bill for Speaker Boehner's campaign to appease the most conservative forces within the Republican Party."
Leader Pelosi is being kind to the Republican Party. It may be true that Sunny John is attempting to appease "the most conservative forces within" the party, but I haven't heard a lot of peeps about this outrage from any House Republicans.

Strangely, the speaker's office hasn't so far had anything to say on the subject, or the House Committee on Administration. I guess what they would want to say in reply to Leader Pelosi would be something along the lines of: "Shove it up your [anatomical part deleted], bitch! As long as there's people out there to be discriminated against and scapegoated on behalf of right-wing sociopaths, we're on the job."

So what now? Chris reports:
Now that the cost cap for funding the defense of DOMA has been reached, questions linger about whether House Republicans will raise the cap to continue  defend against DOMA litigation, which is currently pending for considering before the U.S. Supreme Court. A provision in contract enables an increase in the cost cap upon agreement of the parties involved.
As noted, neither Sunny John nor the Adminstration Committee frothers deigned to comment.

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