CourtSide - The FindLaw Breaking Legal News Blog

February 2012 Archives

Defense of Marriage Act Ruled Unconstitutional

A federal judge in San Francisco has found that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violated the rights of a federal employee who was denied the opportunity to enroll her wife in the health benefits program available to opposite spouses of federal judiciary employees. DOMA prohibits the recognition of same-sex marriages for purposes of federal benefits. The judge in the case determined that DOMA violated the plaintiff's right to equal protection under the Fifth Amendment by failing to recognize her lawful marriage to a same-sex spouse.
The Obama Administration has already announced that it considers DOMA discriminatory and has opted not to enforce it.

White House Issues Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights

The White House has issued a set of non-binding principles regarding the use of personal information online. President Barack Obama simultaneously urged companies to implement the principles, calling them "a dynamic model of how to offer strong privacy protection and enable ongoing innovation in new information technologies." President Obama also expressed his intent to work with Congress to codify the principles into law.

Petition for Rehearing of Prop 8 Decision

Supporters of California's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage have filed a request to have an 11-judge panel review the decision of a lower three-judge panel that declared Prop 8 unconstitutional. The petitioners argue that the lower panel applied Supreme Court precedent incorrectly and erred in determining that Proposition 8 did not reasonably relate to a rational state interest.

Steve Jobs' FBI File

The FBI has released its dossier on Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple Inc. who died on October 5, 2011. The dossier includes documents compiled in 1991 as the federal government considered Jobs for an appointment to the President's Export Council under George H.W. Bush, as well as documents from a 1985 investigation of a bomb threat against Jobs.  The dossier predates Jobs' return to Apple Inc. in 1996.  The release comes as the result of a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

Ninth Circuit's Ruling in Prop 8 Case

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the decision of the lower court which held that Proposition 8, California's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriages, violates the Equal Protection Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Ninth Circuit declared that the state had no legitimate justification for the ban, which it said "serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples."

Facebook Files for IPO

Facebook has filed its long-anticipated S-1 form in preparation for an initial public offering of stock.  While the filing does not list the specifics of the offering, it does contain details of the inner workings of the social networking company that were previously unavailable to the public.