gay news, DOMA, antideficiency act

Is John Boehner’s Lawsuit Defending DOMA Actually Illegal?

gay news, DOMA, antideficiency act
John Boehner: Writing bad checks?

If he can’t pay for it, then yes it is! (And nobody seems to think he can pay for it.)

Gay blogs weren’t the only ones up in arms when word leaked that defending the Constitutionally-challenged and dated Defense of Marriage Act would cost $500,ooo minimum. Nancy Pelosi and many other financial consultants familiar with cases of this stature suggested that figure is on the extremely conservative side (Get it?) and that legal fees could easily soar upwards of 100 million dollars.

While these numbers are insanely high prices to pay for a law that the majority of the country does not support, and President Obama has already found to be unconstitutional – consider the campaign that Republicans crusaded on last election: Budget cuts, smaller government, and job creation. Defending DOMA of course falls under none of those categories.

And now Matt Baume has dug up a little nugget that throws the entire misguided lawsuit on it’s head. It’s illegal. The Antideficiency Act prohibits Congress from spending excessive amounts of money that it just does not have. Government officers who violate the act, who break this law, face punishment of up to two years in prison.

Making or authorizing an expenditure from, or creating or authorizing an obligation under, any appropriation or fund in excess of the amount available in the appropriation or fund unless authorized by law. 31 U.S.C. § 1341(a)(1)(A).

Involving the government in any obligation to pay money before funds have been appropriated for that purpose, unless otherwise allowed by law. 31 U.S.C. § 1341(a)(1)(B).

The fiscal principles underlying the Antideficiency Act are really quite simple. Government officials may not make payments or commit the United States to make payments at some future time for goods or services unless there is enough money in the “bank” to cover the cost in full. The “bank,” of course, is the available appropriation.

An officer or employee who violates 31 U.S.C. § 1341(a) (obligate/expend in excess or advance of appropriation), section 1342 (voluntary services prohibition), or section 1517(a) (obligate/expend in excess of an apportionment or administrative subdivision as specified in an agency’s regulation) “shall be subject to appropriate administrative discipline including, when circumstances warrant, suspension from duty without pay or removal from office.” 31 U.S.C. §§ 1349(a), 1518.

In addition, an officer or employee who “knowingly and willfully” violates any of the three provisions cited above “shall be fined not more than $5,000, imprisoned for not more than 2 years, or both.” 31 U.S.C. §§ 1350, 1519.

Oh snap!

Chief Administrative Dan Strodel (Re: The government official actually responsible for paying for the DOMA defense lawsuit) has said “he too had no knowledge of where the money would come from.”

And there you have it. Can we shut this ridiculously discriminatory and ill-advised lawsuit down now?

  • Anonymous

    Saying DOMA is unconstitutional will never make it so. 

       “- The Supreme Court has upheld Congress’ requirement that some states outlaw polygamy and define marriage as one man and one woman.  The Supreme Court has already upheld the constitutionality of the requirement Congress imposed on many incoming states that they must ban polygamy in their state constitutions as a condition of statehood.  The Supreme Court wrote this memorable passage explaining the authority the Constitution grants Congress to define marriage, even for incoming states:

    [C]ertainly no legislation can be supposed more wholesome and necessary in the founding of a free, self-governing commonwealth, fit to take rank as one of the coordinate States of the Union, than that which seeks to establish it on the basis of the idea of the family, as consisting in and springing from the union for life of one man and one woman in the holy estate of matrimony; the sure foundation of all that is stable and noble in our civilization; the best guaranty of that reverent morality which is the source of all beneficent  progress in social and political improvement.

    Murphy v. Ramsey, 114 U.S. 15, 45 (1885).”

    Oh Snap!

  • happy mouse.

     Maybe two years in prison for this horrible law would make John Boehner realize that it truly is unconstitutional and he, as well as the party he represents, should reconsider their priorities and motives.

  • I don’t want my taxes paying for the DOMA defense lawsuit! @AJMiller87

  • Anonymous

    1. Do you really want to cite a case from 1885?
    2. You realize this is generic Mormon-bashing, not a good strategy to support a case today, even though part of me would like to.
    3. You realize this doesn’t apply to existing  states, which have always occupied the field of basic family law.

  • Anonymous

    We are discussing a federal law here are we not; the presented reference is binding precedence  regarding federal law is it not?

    I know you folks like to believe that U.S. history did not exist prior to 1976, but I assure you that all precedence prior to 1976 is valid and not just those historical acts that appear to support your position – when viewed out of context.

    I really would appreciate it if for once you folks could provide a single piece of a factual binding legal precedence that support your position as opposed to your unsubstantiated personal opinions.

    You do know that peer pressure is a form of bullying don’t you?

  •  the ruling actually uses a very unfortunate para-phrasing of the bill, and had there been a loud and proud contingent of queer mormons in the 1800’s, they probably would have let the justices know.  That is easy to deal with.  the bill to which it refers actually reads :  
    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That every person having a husband or wife living, who shall marry any other person, whether married or single, in a Terrority of the United States, or other place over which the United States have exclusive jurisdiction, shall, except in the cases specified in the proviso to this section, be adjudged guilty of bigamy.

    1862… not THAT’s oldskool

  • Anonymous

    The presented 1885 ruling addresses cthe ability of Congress to define words as a matter of law. Another example of this is when Congress deemed a Tomato to be a vegitable as a matter of law for the sake of commerce.

    Same-sex enthusiasts are not the only one empowerd with the ability to redefine words, but Congress’s ability to do so carries with it the full weight of law whereas the words same-sex enthusiasts pervert are as superficial as their arguments in defense of…

  • Anonymous

    The ruling is based on the constitutionality of Congress right to define words for the sake of proper governance. Furthermore, the court clearly identifies the rational basis for limiting the term marriage to (1) man and (1) women; a finding that was mirrored in the SCOTUS summary ruling in Baker v Nelson. I have provided substantiated legal presidence that clearly refutes your insistence that the right to redefine words lies squarely on the shoulder of special interest groups whose sole purpose is to mandate acceptance of their demands for special rights.  

  • David L. Caster

    If you are going to appeal to the precedents and rulings of SCOTUS, I’d suggest you pay attention the the application of the ruling. Rulings like this one do not argue either for or against marriage equality. This one does come down against polygamy by finding that Congress acted constitutionally when it outlawed polygamy. Not more, not less. 

  • Anonymous

    Seems a little bit hypocritical of you; but that pretty much sums up the rationale for my oppositions to your demands for special rights…


  • David L. Caster

    So then you will have to accept willingly the law that will ultimately issue from Congress or ruling(s) by SCOTUS when one of the other of them find for marriage equality. I look forward to you maning up for that when it happens, as it eventually will.