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BALIF challenges Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) by filing Amicus Brief in Golinski 9th Circuit Case

18 Jul 2012 1:55 AM | BALIF Administrator (Administrator)
Hello BALIF Members and Friends,

As you may know, BALIF joined the fight to challenge the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and filed our Amicus Brief in the Golinski 9th Circuit case this past Tuesday. For this week’s Co-Chair Statement, we celebrate the incredible men and women that made this effort happen…

BALIF’s effort was led by Board Member Nick Kacprowski. Nick is a litigation partner in Kirkland & Ellis LLP's SF office. His practice focuses primarily on complex commercial litigation. He has served as trial counsel in trials in both state and federal court and before arbitration panels.

BALIF Amicus Committee member Leah Nutting Leah reviewed multiple drafts and conducted research for the brief. Leah is a contract attorney at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP’s SF office, where her practice includes patent litigation, antitrust litigation, and SEC investigations. Leah is also a member of the American Constitution Society's Bay Area Lawyer Chapter.

Board Member Peter Catalanotti led BALIF’s outreach efforts to our sister bar organizations. Pete specializes in professional indemnity insurance defense. From 2009 – 2011, Pete was named a "Super Lawyer Rising Star" by Law & Politics Magazine. As a result of Pete’s efforts, 11 other bar associations joined BALIF’s Amicus Brief, including Bar Association of San Francisco, Alameda County Bar Association, and Santa Clara County Bar Association.

The Amicus Brief was drafted by Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Kirkland ’s team consists of litigation partner Jason Parish (DC) and litigation associates Shireen Barday (NY) and Andrew Welz (DC). Jason, Shireen, and Andrew all share a strong commitment to pro bono work. Jason was a member of the Kirkland team that was honored in 2010 by the D.C. Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights with an Outstanding Achievement Award for work in fair housing. Summer associates Steve Hagenbuch ( University of Chicago ) and Jennifer Berman ( University of Pennsylvania ) provided invaluable assistance with research and drafting. And legal assistants Ken Sturek and Sarah Farley and secretary Carleigh McClelland supported the team in finalizing the brief and filing it with the Court.

BALIF’s Amicus Brief has two major sections. The Plaintiffs requested that we include the first section – a summary of the federal rights and benefits denied legally-married same sex couples. Those arguments were presented at length in the trial court, and were relied on in the lower court opinion, but Plaintiffs did not have the space to include the discussion in their brief given the strict word limits on appellate briefs. We were proud and honored that out of the 12 total amicus briefs filed, Plaintiffs trusted BALIF to draft such an important section and believed that BALIF was a strong enough voice that the Court would consider our discussion. The second section argues how DOMA harms the legal profession. This is a novel perspective that has not been briefed by the parties or other amici in this case or in the 1st Circuit DOMA case; and one that is likely to interest the Panel. BALIF's Amicus Brief is available here.

Please join us in congratulating and thanking the team that led BALIF’s amicus initiative.

On Lu and Chelsea HaleyNelson
BALIF Co-Chairs

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