Monday, October 22, 2012

Another Appeals Court Strikes Down DOMA

The Second Circuit in Edith Schlain Windsor v. U.S. (CA 2 10/18/2012) Docket No. 12-2335-cv(L), held that a surviving spouse in a legally married same sex couple is entitled to the federal estate tax marital deduction, and therefore a refund of estate taxes paid. The Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that prohibits the federal government from recognizing legally married same sex couples for federal benefit purposes. A few other courts this year have also found DOMA to be unconstitutional, but some court watchers believe that this is the case that the U.S. Supreme Court may accept for review. One reason is that Justice Elena Kagan may have had to recuse herself from the other cases, but she was not involved in this one when she was White House counsel.