Kathleen G. Kane - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General - Protecting Pennsylvanians

 
 
July 12, 2013

Statement from Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane

In the past 24 hours, the OAG Press Office has received dozens of inquiries regarding my announcement that this Office would not defend DOMA in a recently filed lawsuit. I'm grateful that there has been a lot of interest, and grateful too that most of the reporting has been accurate and fair. Yesterday was a good day for human rights.

There have been far too many questions posed for me to reply to them individually. I offer the following statements so that the news media, and all Pennsylvanians, can have a better understanding of my reasons for taking this important step. 

I swore an oath that I would defend and obey the constitution. What I did yesterday was simply that. I was obeying the constitution.

Doesn't the Commonwealth Attorneys Act require you to defend Pennsylvania statutes?

The Commonwealth Attorneys Act has a specific, plainly written provision that enables me to refer cases at my sole discretion. The OAG refers cases to the OGC  hundreds of times each year, for many different reasons.

Here is the relevant language from the Commonwealth Attorneys Act:
The Attorney General may, upon determining that it is more efficient or otherwise is in the best interest of the Commonwealth, authorize the General Counsel or the counsel for an independent agency to initiate, conduct or defend any particular litigation or category of litigation in his stead.

If you are not defending DOMA, why are you defending Voter ID in the trial that starts Monday? 

There is a key difference between the two. The Pennsylvania Voter ID law is, on its face, constitutional. My concern with the Voter ID law has always been its implementation.

DOMA is different. DOMA is wholly unconstitutional. It cannot be fixed.


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