The Supreme Court has set a schedule for one of the key cases in its docket for next year, requesting the first filings in a lesbian widow's challenge to the Defense of Marriage act for the day after President Obama's inauguration. The court order also made clear the complexity of the case reaching the Supreme Court over the Defense of Marriage Act's federal definition of "marriage" and "spouse." The court in a Friday order has separated the briefing in Edith Windsor's challenge to DOMA into two portions: one focused on the merits of the question of whether DOMA is constitutional and the other focused on the questions the court has asked regarding whether it even has the authority to hear the case. Although two federal appeals courts have struck down the law as unconstitutional, one of which was in Windsor's case, the questions about the Supreme Court's jurisdiction to hear the case were not discussed at length in earlier hearings and have added an element of uncertainty to the case. The first filings are slated for Jan. 22 and will come in two parts: the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), established by Republican leadership, will argue defense of the law on the merits; and Vicki Jackson, a court-appointed lawyer, will make the case that the court lacks jurisdiction.
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