The firm contracted by the House of Representatives to defend the Defense of Marriage Act after the Obama administration its defense of the law, has now ditched the assignment.
The chairman of the King and Spaulding law firm, Robert Hayes Jr. said in a statement:
“In reviewing this assignment further, I determined that the process used for vetting this engagement was inadequate. Ultimately I am responsible for any mistakes that occurred and apologize for the challenges this may have created.”
That doesn’t mean, however, that DOMA won’t get defended by Paul Clement, the former Solicitor General of the United States under President George W. Bush who had taken the case as a partner in the Atlanta-based law firm.
Clement has resigned from King and Spaulding and will continue with the case with his new law firm, Bancroft PLLC, saying in a statement, “I resign out of the firmly-held belief that a representation should not be abandoned because the client’s legal position is extremely unpopular in certain quarters.”
The religious right jumped on King and Spaulding. The Family Research Council accused them of caving to “a small but influential cabal that want to undermine policy and society.”
Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel and dean of Liberty University School of Law, framed the move as part of the “clash coming between homosexuality and religious rights or other rights or just simply common sense and civility, I think we’re seeing it played out right there in the King & Spalding law firm,” he told the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow.
These are the same old canards the religious right pulls out when talking about marriage equality. Clement has every right to work for a law firm that will back him in his determination to fight DOMA, even if he believes that he’s on the right side of history because he is defending an “unpopular position.” When DOMA was overwhelmingly passed in 1996, gays and lesbians were in that “unpopular position.” If Clement is so dedicated to defending the unpopular, would Clement have defended gays and lesbians then?