United States vs. Windsor - PowerPoint Presentation

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United States vs. Windsor
United States vs. Windsor

United States vs. Windsor - Description

By Taylor Beshel US vs Windsor Argued March 27 2013 Decided June 26 2013 The Back Story Edith Windsor was married to Thea Clara Spyer in Toronto Canada in 2007 Marriage was recognized by New York state law ID: 813446 Download


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United States vs. Windsor

By: Taylor Beshel


U.S. vs. Windsor

Argued: March 27, 2013

Decided: June 26, 2013


The Back Story

Edith Windsor was married to




in Toronto, Canada, in 2007

Marriage was recognized by New York state law


died in 2009, left her estate to her spouse

Marriage was not recognized by federal law

Government forced Windsor $363,053 in taxes

Had the marriage been recognized no taxes would have been forced upon Windsor

On 11/9/10 Windsor filed suit in district court seeking declaration that the DOMA was unconstitutional


Public Policy

Marriage Equality Act: New York State

1. A marriage is otherwise valid shall be valid regardless of whether the parties to the marriage are of the same or different sex

Federal Law:

“As a result of the Supreme Court’s decision on the US vs. Windsor case, for federal tax purposes IRS will recognize a marriage between a same-sex couple that is a legal marriage under the laws of the jurisdiction (domestic or foreign) where the marriage was performed” :(New York State: Department of taxation and finance)


IRS denied Windsor

IRS denied Windsor the use of spousal estate tax exemption on the circumstances that under DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), the federal government did not recognize same sex marriages for the purpose of federal benefits


Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group

Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) from House of Representatives is defending DOMA

Arguing: DOMA is corresponding to the lawful government intention of providing a stable definition of marriage for federal benefit purposes


Section 3 DOMA

Section 3 DOMA defines the term “marriage” for all purposes under federal law, including the action for federal benefits as “only a legal union between one man and one women as husband and wife.” 1 U.S.C. 7


Plaintiff Arguments

Windsor argues that DOMA is unconstitutional as it overlooks on her right to equal protection under the 5



Edith is seeking a refund of the estate tax she was unfairly forced to pay


Defendant Arguments

BLAG argues that DOMA is constitutional

The law should undergo minimal scrutiny observation under rational bias test because sexual orientation is not a historically protected class


What’s the Big Q


Question being presented:

Whether Section 3 of DOMA violates the fifth amendment’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws as applied to persons of the same sex who are legally married under the laws of their state?


Amicus Curiae

Court appointed an amicus curiae against the court’s jurisdiction of Windsor's case

Because of procedural posture, the amicus curiae argues that BLAG lacks standing because there is no injury to congress if DOMA is overturned

BLAG would be performing an executive act that violates separation of powers principles


The Decision

5-4 decision- Supreme Court found section 3 DOMA to be unconstitutional

“As a deprivation of the liberty of the person being protected by the fifth amendment” said by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who authored majority



Key Aspects of Decision Making

Justice Kennedy says “DOMA’s mission is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal”

DOMA undetermines both public and private importance of state-sanctioned same-sex marriages

It tells couples that their otherwise valid marriage are unworthy of federal recognition



Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, and Justice


Thomas authored dissenting opinion

Chief Justice Roberts says “This case is about power in several respects. It is about the power of our people to govern themselves, and the power of this Court to pronounce the law. Today’s opinion aggrandizes the latter, with the predictable consequence of diminishing the former. We have no power to decide this case. And even if we did, we have no power under the Constitution to invalidate this democratically adopted legislation. The Court’s errors on both points spring forth from the same diseased root: an exalted conception of the role of this institution in America.”


Long Term Effects

This case effected what role the federal government can play in defining marriage and who in the federal government can defend the government’s laws

Same-sex couples will be given equal protection by federal government concerning federal benefits











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