Case: Blesch v. Holder

1:12-cv-01578 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York

Filed Date: April 2, 2012

Closed Date: Aug. 26, 2013

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This is a constitutional challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), 1 U.S.C. § 7, as it applies to the immigration rights of lesbian and gay bi-national couples. It was filed on April 2, 2012, by five such couples, each lawfully married in South Africa, Vermont, New York, or Connecticut, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Represented by Immigration Equality and private pro bono counsel, plaintiffs sued the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland…

This is a constitutional challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), 1 U.S.C. § 7, as it applies to the immigration rights of lesbian and gay bi-national couples. It was filed on April 2, 2012, by five such couples, each lawfully married in South Africa, Vermont, New York, or Connecticut, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Represented by Immigration Equality and private pro bono counsel, plaintiffs sued the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS -- a component agency of DHS), seeking to compel recognition of their same-sex marriages and non-discriminatory adjudication of marriage-based immigrant benefits.

Under DOMA, marriage "means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife." 1 U.S.C. § 7. In each of the plaintiff couples, one spouse is American and the other foreign; if the marriage were not same-sex, the American spouse could petition for an immigrant visa for the foreign spouse and place the foreign spouse on the path to lawful permanent residence and citizenship. However, following DOMA's direction, USCIS has denied plaintiffs those immigration benefits. Plaintiffs argue that this denial is unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause, constituting discrimination on account of both sexual orientation and sex.

The Obama administration has announced that in its view, DOMA is unconstitutional and has therefore declined to defend it in court (although the federal government continues to enforce the statute). Accordingly, a "Bipartizan Legal Advisory Group" (BLAG) has been appointed by the (Republican) House of Representatives to appear in cases like this one and defend the constitutionality of DOMA. BLAG filed papers in this case on May 31, 2012.

On July 25, 2012, the district court (Judge Amon) stayed proceedings in the case--including immigration enforcement against any of the plaintiffs--pending the Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Windsor v. United States, No. 12 CV 2335 (2d Cir), a case already pending on appeal similarly challenging the constitutionality of DOMA. (PB-NY-0017 in the Clearinghouse.) Since the government had declined to stay immigration enforcement, this was reported as a small victory by the plaintiffs.

On July 8, 2013, following the Supreme Court's decision in Windsor, BLAG withdrew as intevenor-defendant. On August 26, 2013, after the Plaintiffs' notice of voluntary dismissal, the Court dismissed the case without prejudice.

Summary Authors

Claire Lally (2/22/2015)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5652777/parties/blesch-v-holder/


Judge(s)

Amon, Carol Bagley (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Fink, Julie Eden (New York)

Neilson, Victoria (New York)

Plummer, Thomas R. (New York)

Stone, Eric Alan (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Belsan, Timothy Michael (District of Columbia)

Carlson, Jesi J. (District of Columbia)

Dunn, Scott (New York)

Goldsmith, Aaron S. (District of Columbia)

Other Attorney(s)

Active

Judge(s)

Amon, Carol Bagley (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Fink, Julie Eden (New York)

Neilson, Victoria (New York)

Plummer, Thomas R. (New York)

Stone, Eric Alan (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Belsan, Timothy Michael (District of Columbia)

Carlson, Jesi J. (District of Columbia)

Dunn, Scott (New York)

Goldsmith, Aaron S. (District of Columbia)

Other Attorney(s)

Bartolomucci, H. Christopher (District of Columbia)

Kircher, Kerry W. (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

1:12-cv-01578

Docket [PACER]

Aug. 26, 2013

Aug. 26, 2013

Docket
1

1:12-cv-01578

Complaint

April 2, 2012

April 2, 2012

Complaint
31

1:12-cv-01578

Notice of Dismissal Without Prejudice

Aug. 26, 2013

Aug. 26, 2013

Notice Letter

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5652777/blesch-v-holder/

Last updated Aug. 2, 2022, 3:11 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT against Robert M. Cowan, Eric H. Holder, Jr, Alejandro Mayorkas, Janet Napolitano, Daniel M. Renaud, filed by Heather Morgan, Maria Del Mar Verdugo, Frances Herbert, Lucy Truman, Edwin Blesch, Timothy Smulian, Takako Ueda, Pablo Garcia, Santiago Ortiz, Kelli Ryan. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet) (Davis, Kimberly) (Entered: 04/03/2012)

April 2, 2012

April 2, 2012

Summons Issued as to Robert M. Cowan, Eric H. Holder, Jr, Alejandro Mayorkas, Janet Napolitano, Daniel M. Renaud, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (Davis, Kimberly) (Entered: 04/03/2012)

April 2, 2012

April 2, 2012

FILING FEE: $ 350.00, receipt number 4653041905 (Davis, Kimberly) (Entered: 04/03/2012)

April 2, 2012

April 2, 2012

2

NOTICE of Appearance by Scott Dunn on behalf of All Defendants (aty to be noticed) (Dunn, Scott) (Entered: 04/04/2012)

April 4, 2012

April 4, 2012

3

NOTICE of Appearance by Jesi J. Carlson on behalf of All Defendants (aty to be noticed) (Carlson, Jesi) (Entered: 04/09/2012)

April 9, 2012

April 9, 2012

4

SUMMONS Returned Executed by Heather Morgan, Maria Del Mar Verdugo, Frances Herbert, Lucy Truman, Edwin Blesch, Timothy Smulian, Takako Ueda, Pablo Garcia, Santiago Ortiz, Kelli Ryan. Daniel M. Renaud served on 4/3/2012, answer due 6/4/2012. (Stone, Eric) (Entered: 04/10/2012)

April 10, 2012

April 10, 2012

5

SUMMONS Returned Executed by Heather Morgan, Maria Del Mar Verdugo, Frances Herbert, Lucy Truman, Edwin Blesch, Timothy Smulian, Takako Ueda, Pablo Garcia, Santiago Ortiz, Kelli Ryan. Robert M. Cowan served on 4/3/2012, answer due 6/4/2012. (Stone, Eric) (Entered: 04/10/2012)

April 10, 2012

April 10, 2012

6

SUMMONS Returned Executed by Heather Morgan, Maria Del Mar Verdugo, Frances Herbert, Lucy Truman, Edwin Blesch, Timothy Smulian, Takako Ueda, Pablo Garcia, Santiago Ortiz, Kelli Ryan. Janet Napolitano served on 4/3/2012, answer due 6/4/2012. (Stone, Eric) (Entered: 04/10/2012)

April 10, 2012

April 10, 2012

7

SUMMONS Returned Executed by Heather Morgan, Maria Del Mar Verdugo, Frances Herbert, Lucy Truman, Edwin Blesch, Timothy Smulian, Takako Ueda, Pablo Garcia, Santiago Ortiz, Kelli Ryan. Alejandro Mayorkas served on 4/3/2012, answer due 6/4/2012. (Stone, Eric) (Entered: 04/10/2012)

April 10, 2012

April 10, 2012

8

SUMMONS Returned Executed by Heather Morgan, Maria Del Mar Verdugo, Frances Herbert, Lucy Truman, Edwin Blesch, Timothy Smulian, Takako Ueda, Pablo Garcia, Santiago Ortiz, Kelli Ryan. Eric H. Holder, Jr served on 4/3/2012, answer due 6/4/2012. (Stone, Eric) (Entered: 04/10/2012)

April 10, 2012

April 10, 2012

9

Notice of MOTION to Intervene and Unopposed Motion to Intervene by Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1, # 2 Exhibit 2, # 3 Proposed Order) (Bartolomucci, H) (Entered: 05/15/2012)

May 15, 2012

May 15, 2012

10

MEMORANDUM in Support re 9 Notice of MOTION to Intervene and Unopposed Motion to Intervene filed by Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B, # 3 Exhibit C, # 4 Exhibit D, # 5 Exhibit E, # 6 Exhibit F, # 7 Exhibit G, # 8 Exhibit H, # 9 Exhibit I, # 10 Exhibit J, # 11 Exhibit K, # 12 Exhibit L) (Bartolomucci, H) (Entered: 05/15/2012)

May 15, 2012

May 15, 2012

11

Letter Re: Motion to Intervene Pursuant to Chief Judge Amon's Motion Practice Rule 3(D) by Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (Bartolomucci, H) (Entered: 05/15/2012)

May 15, 2012

May 15, 2012

12

NOTICE of Appearance by Thomas Roy Plummer on behalf of Edwin Blesch, Pablo Garcia, Frances Herbert, Heather Morgan, Santiago Ortiz, Kelli Ryan, Timothy Smulian, Lucy Truman, Takako Ueda, Maria Del Mar Verdugo (aty to be noticed) (Plummer, Thomas) (Entered: 05/16/2012)

May 16, 2012

May 16, 2012

13

NOTICE by Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of Supplemental Authority (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit Exhibit B) (Bartolomucci, H) (Entered: 05/24/2012)

May 24, 2012

May 24, 2012

14

NOTICE by Robert M. Cowan, Eric H. Holder, Jr, Alejandro Mayorkas, Janet Napolitano, Daniel M. Renaud (Attachments: # 1 Attachments 1−3) (Carlson, Jesi) (Entered: 05/25/2012)

May 25, 2012

May 25, 2012

15

RESPONSE to Motion re 9 Notice of MOTION to Intervene and Unopposed Motion to Intervene filed by All Defendants. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order) (Carlson, Jesi) (Entered: 05/29/2012)

May 29, 2012

May 29, 2012

16

STIPULATION re 1 Complaint, Stipulation to Extend Time to Respond to Complaint by Robert M. Cowan, Eric H. Holder, Jr, Alejandro Mayorkas, Janet Napolitano, Daniel M. Renaud (Carlson, Jesi) (Entered: 05/30/2012)

May 30, 2012

May 30, 2012

18

NOTICE of Appearance by Kerry W. Kircher on behalf of Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (aty to be noticed) (Kircher, Kerry) (Entered: 06/12/2012)

June 12, 2012

June 12, 2012

19

STIPULATION re 1 Complaint, Stipulation to Extend Time to Respond to Complaint by Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (Bartolomucci, H) (Entered: 06/15/2012)

June 15, 2012

June 15, 2012

ORDER : re 19 Stipulation − the parties have agreed, contingent on the Court's approval, to a (30) day extension of the responsive pleading deadline in this action to July 18, 2012. APPLICATION GRANTED. So Ordered by Chief Judge Carol Bagley Amon on 6/15/2012. (Liberatore, Marie) (Entered: 06/18/2012)

June 18, 2012

June 18, 2012

20

Proposed Scheduling Order re: Proposed Motion to Stay Proceeding and Responsive Pleading Deadline by Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (Bartolomucci, H) (Entered: 07/16/2012)

July 16, 2012

July 16, 2012

NOTICE OF TELEPHONE STATUS CONFERENCE: Re: 20 . A status conference will be held by telephone on July 25, 2012 at 4:00pm before Chief Judge Amon. Mr. Bartolomucci is directed to coordinate the conference call to chambers 718−613−2410. (Liberatore, Marie) (Entered: 07/17/2012)

July 17, 2012

July 17, 2012

21

Minute Entry for proceedings held before Chief Judge Carol Bagley Amon:Status Conference held on 7/25/2012. Counsel for parties present. Status conference held by telephone before Chief Judge Amon on 7/25/12. The case is stayed pending the Second Circuit's resolution of Windsor v. United States, No. 12 CV 2335 (2d Cir) (Court Reporter Charisse Kitt.) (Fernandez, Erica) (Entered: 07/26/2012)

July 25, 2012

July 25, 2012

23

NOTICE by Edwin Blesch, Pablo Garcia, Frances Herbert, Heather Morgan, Santiago Ortiz, Kelli Ryan, Timothy Smulian, Lucy Truman, Takako Ueda, Maria Del Mar Verdugo re 22 Notice (Other) / Response to Intervenor−Defendant's Notice of Pertinent Recent Legal Developments (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A) (Stone, Eric) (Entered: 11/05/2012)

Nov. 5, 2012

Nov. 5, 2012

24

NOTICE by Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group Regarding Second Notice of Pertinent Recent Legal Developments (Bartolomucci, H) (Entered: 11/14/2012)

Nov. 14, 2012

Nov. 14, 2012

ORDER EXTENDING STAY: Upon consent of the parties, the stay imposed by this Court on July 25, 2012 is extended, pending the U.S. Supreme Court's decisions on eight certiorari petitions that ask the Court to review the constitutionality of DOMA. Consideration of these petitions is currently scheduled for Nov. 30, 2012. A status conference will be scheduled sometime after Nov. 30 to determine the schedule for this case. Ordered by Chief Judge Carol Bagley Amon on 11/27/2012. (Baek, Hanna) (Entered: 11/27/2012)

Nov. 27, 2012

Nov. 27, 2012

25

NOTICE of Appearance by Timothy M. Belsan on behalf of All Defendants (aty to be noticed) (Belsan, Timothy) (Entered: 11/27/2012)

Nov. 27, 2012

Nov. 27, 2012

26

NOTICE of Appearance by Aaron Goldsmith on behalf of All Defendants (aty to be noticed) (Goldsmith, Aaron) (Entered: 12/04/2012)

Dec. 4, 2012

Dec. 4, 2012

SCHEDULING ORDER: Telephone Status Conference set for 12/18/2012 at 2:30 PM before Chief Judge Carol Bagley Amon. Plaintiff's counsel Eric Stone is directed to set up the conference with all involved parties and telephone chambers at 718−613−2410. Ordered by Chief Judge Carol Bagley Amon on 12/10/2012. (Baek, Hanna) (Entered: 12/10/2012)

Dec. 10, 2012

Dec. 10, 2012

27

Minute Entry for proceedings held before Chief Judge Carol Bagley Amon:Status Conference held on 12/18/2012. Counsel for parties present. Stay is continued pending US Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Windsor. (Court Reporter Victoria Torres Butler.) (Fernandez, Erica) (Entered: 12/18/2012)

Dec. 18, 2012

Dec. 18, 2012

28

Letter re Unopposed Motion to Withdraw as Intervenor−Defendant by Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (Bartolomucci, H) Modified on 7/10/2013 (Fernandez, Erica). (Entered: 07/08/2013)

July 8, 2013

July 8, 2013

SCHEDULING ORDER: Re 28 A premotion conference will be held by telephone on Friday, July 26, 2013 at 3:00pm before Chief Judge Amon. Mr. Bartolomucci is directed to coordinate the call to chambers 718−613−2410. So Ordered by Chief Judge Carol Bagley Amon on 7/19/2013. (Liberatore, Marie) (Entered: 07/19/2013)

July 19, 2013

July 19, 2013

RESCHEDULING ORDER: All counsel consent to changing the time only to 4:30pm for the premotion telephone conference set for July 26, 2013 before Chief Judge Amon. (Liberatore, Marie) (Entered: 07/24/2013)

July 24, 2013

July 24, 2013

Minute Entry: Premotion conference held by telephone before Chief Judge Amon on 7/26/13. Appearances: for Plaintiff − Eric Stone (Julie Fink, Victoria Neilson, Thomas Plummer). For Defendants − Aaron Goldsmith (AUSA Scott Dunn). For Intervenor−Defendant − H. Christopher Bartolomucci. Intervenor−Defendant's motion to withdraw as party defendant is GRANTED. Remaining parties to file a letter with the Court by August 21, 2013 apprising Court of status of the case.(Court Reporter Lisa Schmid.) (Liberatore, Marie) (Entered: 07/26/2013)

July 26, 2013

July 26, 2013

29

Letter re: Status Update by Edwin Blesch, Pablo Garcia, Frances Herbert, Heather Morgan, Santiago Ortiz, Kelli Ryan, Timothy Smulian, Lucy Truman, Takako Ueda, Maria Del Mar Verdugo (Stone, Eric) (Entered: 08/02/2013)

Aug. 2, 2013

Aug. 2, 2013

30

NOTICE of Voluntary Dismissal by Edwin Blesch, Pablo Garcia, Frances Herbert, Heather Morgan, Santiago Ortiz, Kelli Ryan, Timothy Smulian, Lucy Truman, Takako Ueda, Maria Del Mar Verdugo Without Prejudice (Stone, Eric) (Entered: 08/23/2013)

Aug. 23, 2013

Aug. 23, 2013

17

ORDER granting 9 Unopposed Motion to Intervene by the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the U.S. House of Representatives. The House's motion to intervene in this matter to defend the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, 1 U.S.C. § 7, is granted. Ordered by Chief Judge Carol Bagley Amon on 5/30/2012. (Turner-Dodge, Lee)

May 31, 2012

May 31, 2012

RECAP

Case Details

State / Territory: New York

Case Type(s):

Immigration and/or the Border

Special Collection(s):

Same-Sex Marriage

Multi-LexSum (in sample)

Key Dates

Filing Date: April 2, 2012

Closing Date: Aug. 26, 2013

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Five same-sex bi-national couples (one partner American, the other foreign).

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

U.S. Department of Justice, Federal

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Federal

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Ex Parte Young (Federal) or Bivens

Constitutional Clause(s):

Equal Protection

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Outcome

Prevailing Party: None Yet / None

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Form of Settlement:

Voluntary Dismissal

Issues

General:

Family reunification

Marriage

Discrimination-basis:

Sexual orientatation

Affected Gender:

Female

Male

Immigration/Border:

Family Separation

Legalization/Amnesty

Visas - criteria