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Cooper-Harris v. United States

United States District Court, C.D. California

August 29, 2013

COOPER-HARRIS, ET AL., Plaintiffs,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ET AL., Defendants

For Tracey Cooper-Harris, Maggie Cooper-Harris, Plaintiffs: Adam P Romero, PRO HAC VICE, Rubina Ali, PRO HAC VICE, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, New York, NY; Caren E Short, PRO HAC VICE, Joseph J Levin, Jr, PRO HAC VICE, Southern Poverty Law Center, Montgomery, AL; Matthew D Benedetto, Randall R Lee, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, Los Angeles, CA.

For United States of America, Eric H Holder, Jr, in his official capacity as Attorney General, Eric K Shinseki, in his official capacity as Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Defendants: Jean Lin, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division - Federal Programs Branch, Washington, DC.

OPINION

ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

CONSUELO B. MARSHALL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

The matter before the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment (" Motion" ). [Dockets No. 96, 97.] Plaintiffs challenge the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (" DOMA" ) and Sections 101(3) and 101(31) of Title 38 (" Title 38" ) on the basis that these provisions violate the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. (Motion at 1-2.)

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiffs and Intervenor-Defendant Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives

Page 1140

(" BLAG" ) filed cross-motions for summary judgment. [Doc. No. 105.] The Federal Government filed a Response in support of Plaintiffs' Motion. [Doc. No. 113.] Subsequent to the Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Windsor, 133 S.Ct. 2675, 186 L.Ed.2d 808 (2013), BLAG withdrew as Intervenor-Defendant, its Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment, and its Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion, on July 23, 2013. [ See Doc. No. 137.] What remains before the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion as to DOMA and Title 38. The Supreme Court held that DOMA is unconstitutional, and therefore the Court GRANTS Plaintiffs' Motion as to DOMA. Windsor, 133 S.Ct. at 2696.

II. STANDARD OF LAW

Summary judgment against a party is appropriate when " there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party must support its assertion that there is no genuine dispute by citing to " depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials" in the record. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A). A party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of informing the court of the basis for its motion and of identifying those portions of the pleadings and discovery responses that demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). If the moving party meets its initial burden, the nonmoving party must then set forth, by affidavit or as otherwise provided in Rule 56, " specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986).

In judging evidence at the summary judgment stage, the court does not make credibility determinations or weigh conflicting evidence and draws all inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pac. Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630-31 (9th Cir. 1987). This includes factual disputes. See Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150, 120 S.Ct. 2097, 147 L.Ed.2d 105 (2000). The evidence presented by the parties must be admissible. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(2). Conclusory, speculative testimony in affidavits and moving papers is insufficient to raise genuine issues of fact and defeat summary judgment. See Thornhill Pub. Co. v. GTE Corp., 594 F.2d 730, 738 (9th Cir. 1979).

" Summary judgment is especially appropriate where there is no genuine issue of material fact and the only dispute is as to pure legal questions." Miller v. Cnty. of Santa Cruz, 796 F.Supp. 1316, 1317-18 (N.D. ...


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