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Zer Netmouse
July 21st, 2012
11:01 am

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Why does Congress make laws that expire?

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From:ckd
Date:July 23rd, 2012 06:49 pm (UTC)
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Legal reasoning.

The "Legal Group" mentioned there is the Congressional group defending the law (since the DoJ has said that DOMA Sec. 3 is in their opinion unconstitutional, they will no longer defend it). Part of their defense is asserting a "rational basis" for the law so as to meet that standard of judicial review. Part of that assertion is a claim that Congress passed DOMA in order to allow more time for lawmakers to consider the potential issues raised by a change in state marriage laws.

The judges point out, quite correctly, that if the intent of Congress had indeed been to allow such a delay (rather than to block marriage equality for an indefinite period) the law would have had an expiration date. Since it didn't, that can't be part of a "rational basis" for DOMA. The Voting Rights Act was cited as a demonstration that Congress has passed expiring laws before as temporary measures in areas where the situation is changing.
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