01/20/10 Lambda Legal press release / 01/20/10 Law Dork
[Rick Xiao is a California attorney and a site collaborator. I wish to thank Rick for alerting me to the complaint .]
Karen Golinski is a staff attorney for the 9th Circuit Court. Her employer provides medical insurance to spouses of employees, and she applied for coverage of her spouse, Amy Cunninghis. When the Administrative Office of the Courts ("AO") denied her application, she appealed the denial to Chief Judge Alex Kozinksi, persuant to the Court's Employee Dispute Resolution Plan (EDR). Judge Kozinksi granted her relief, but each time the AO complied with his orders, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) interfered and prevented enrollment of her spouse in her medical insurance plan. OPM claimed that the federal DOMA left it with no alternative. Judge Kozinski ordered OPM to allow Golinksi to enroll her spouse, on the grounds that the judiciary, as a separate branch of government, has a right to adjudicate its employee policies without interference from an executive agency. OPM did not appeal the order, but continues to prevent Golinski from enrolling her spouse. She now seeks a permanent injunction against OPM's interference.
Rick Xiao offers the following comment:
Athough Golinski does not seek a judicial determination of DOMA's constitutionality, the issue remains central in this case, because Obama's administration has asserted DOMA as the ground for refusing to comply with the judge's order.