In a letter today to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Pelosi, pictured above, has asked Boehner for a cost estimate for the litigation. Boehner and others in the House Republican leadership have tasked House General Counsel Kerry Kircher with mounting a legal defense of the 1996 federal law, which the Obama administration has declined to defend, and Kircher is expected to hire outside counsel.
“It is important that the House receive an estimate of the cost to taxpayers for engaging private lawyers to intervene in the pending DOMA cases,” Pelosi wrote in the letter, according to text released by her office. “It is also important,” she added, “that the House know whether the [House leadership], the General Counsel, or a Committee of the House have the responsibility to monitor the actions of the outside lawyers and their fees.”
A spokesman for Boehner did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Pelosi and House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) are opposing the decision to have the House intervene in the litigation. In her letter, Pelosi noted that there are at least 10 ongoing cases related to the Defense of Marriage Act, and she wrote that the litigation could be “costly and divisive.”
National Law Journal photo by Diego M. Radzinschi.