WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court on Tuesday invited a Massachusetts lawyer to come argue that the justices cannot rule on one of the gay marriage questions it had planned to decide next year.
The court asked lawyer Vicki C. Jackson of Cambridge to join the gay marriage arguments this spring, but she won't be arguing whether it's legal for governments to treat gay Americans differently in issues of marriage. Instead, at the court's invitation, Jackson will be arguing that it's improper for the Supreme Court to even consider making a ruling on a federal law that treats gay married couples differently from heterosexual married couples.
Jackson was asked by the court to argue "that the Executive Branch's agreement with the court below that DOMA is unconstitutional deprives this court of jurisdiction to decide this case." She will also argue that House Republicans cannot substitute themselves for the Justice Department and therefore they lack "standing in this case."
This could be a subtle way of backing out of needing to make a decision at all on DOMA.