More on the New Jim/Jane Crow LawsPosted: April 25, 2011
This one is so interesting I thought I’d give it its own post. We’ve talked about how the Republicans are eager to strip immigrants, women, and the GLBT community of constitutional rights. Recently, the Obama DOJ refused to defend DOMA against charges of unconstitutionality. Speaker Boehner took up the cause by hiring some very expensive lawyers. It seems those lawyers have dropped the DOMA case.
In a real victory for supporters of same-sex marriage — and marking what seems like real marginalization for its foes — a major law firm has reversed course and will refuse to represent the House of Representatives in defending the Defense of Marriage Act.
King and Spalding Chairman Robert D. Hays, Jr., whose partner Paul Clement was to lead the defense, said in a statement through a spokesman, Les Zuke:
Today the firm filed a motion to withdraw from its engagement to represent the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the House of Representatives on the constitutional issues regarding Section III of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. Last week we worked diligently through the process required for withdrawal.
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.
The statement is silent on the reasons for the decision, but the firm faced protests at its Atlanta office and a national campaign against it. And now the House majority may have to find a new lawyer.
The weirdest twist in this flap is that Clement–Boehner’s choice and a former Dubya appointee–has quit the firm. A copy of his resignation letter exists on line here.
Former Solicitor General Paul Clement resigned Monday from his law firm, King & Spalding, over the firm’s abrupt and belated decision to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act on behalf of the House of Representatives.
“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. Defending unpopular clients is what lawyers do,” Clement wrote to King & Spalding chairman Robert Hays. “I recognized from the outset that this statute implicates very sensitive issues that prompt strong views on both sides. But having undertaken the representation, I believe there is no honorable course for me but to complete it.”
Clement said he will join Bancroft PLLC, a small Washington-based firm that is home to former Bush Justice Department official Viet Dinh.
It’s extremely odd that small-government loving republicans continue to support the removal of rights from American citizens. The clear driver behind all of this is their extremist base with their extremist religious views. The tide is clearly turning on laws that give members of the GLBT less than full citizenship status because younger people do not ascribe to the bigotry in large numbers. Nancy Pelosi tweets that she wants answers from Speaker Boehner.
Frankly, I’d like answers from Congresswoman Pelosi and other Democrats about why it’s taken them so long to stand up for the constitutional rights of US citizens. It’s time for them to fight all the erosion of rights of individuals by the Republicans that are clearly based in religious diatribes and bigotry and little else. This includes the fights for abortion rights and the civil rights of the GLBT community and immigrants.