In disagreements between individuals and the IRS, I tend to side with individuals against the IRS. So Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling against the Defense of Marriage Act seems about right, on the face of it.
Yes, the judicial review and nixing of DOMA regarded a tax case.
The state of New York recognized the marriage of two women, Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer. Ms. Spyer died in 2009. Ms. Windsor inherited, paying $363, 053 in estate taxes. She sued against DOMA because she wanted to claim the federal estate tax exemption for surviving spouses.
The Supreme Court majority sided with Windsor. Chief Justice Roberts dissented, arguing that the court lacked the authority in this case to overturn this law; and Justice Scalia dissented separately, joined by Justice Thomas; Alito wrote another separate dissent.
Fascinating reading, all of it, but I was disappointed that Justices Scalia and Thomas are so deferential to Congress regarding DOMA, without any consideration of the Tenth Amendment, which recognizes that states have powers not delegated to the federal government — and surely regulating marriage was not one of the enumerated powers delegated to Congress — or the Ninth Amendment, which recognizes “rights retained by the people,” and that has a lot of bearing on the practice of marriage.
It seems to me that in matters of marriage, at the very least, the federal government should be following the people and the states, not the other way around.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.