The Attorney General of the United States is “Delighted” That a Federal Law was Declared Unconstitutional

Well, you don’t see this every day–the chief law enforcement official of the United States (a message sent to DOJ employees) is “delighted” that a federal law was declared unconstitutional.  This was forwarded to me by a DOJ lawyer:

From: The Attorney General <<>>

Date: June 27, 2013, 7:17:58 PM EDT
To: Undisclosed recipients:;
Subject: Message from the Attorney General

To:  All DOJ Employees
From:  The Attorney General

Yesterday’s historic decision by the Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor, declaring Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, is an enormous triumph for equal protection under the law for all Americans.  The Court’s ruling gives real meaning to the Constitution’s promise of equal protection to all members of our society, regardless of sexual orientation.

We understand that employees may have questions about the impact of yesterday’s decision on the availability of federal benefits.  At the President’s direction, the Department will work expeditiously with other Executive Branch agencies to implement the Court’s decision.  We will provide guidance as quickly as possible to employees.  In the meantime, you may direct inquiries to your component’s human resource office.

I am delighted by yesterday’s outcome and look forward to implementing this momentous decision.

Eric H. Holder, Jr.

Leaving the merits of the final judgments in these cases aside, I am clearly not alone in being concerned about the unwillingness of state and federal officials to defend the duly-enacted laws of their states.  Indeed, refusing to defend the law and acquiescing in an adverse judgment against it seems tantamount to a retroactive veto by the Executive Branch.  If Eric Holder is “delighted” that the law is invalid, wouldn’t the appropriate response in our system of government be for the President to propose the repeal of the law with which he disagrees, rather than effectively retroactively vetoing it?

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