Monday, May 2, 2011

NRA Drops Former DOMA Defense Firm, King & Spalding Claims not "advocate for our interests"

King & Spalding’s decision to drop its defense of DOMA continues to make news; in the parlance of journalists, this story has legs.

To recap, the firm and its former star partner Paul Clement were hired by certain House members to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, which denies certain benefits to same-sex couples, after the Obama administration said it would no longer defend the federal law.

The firm has yet to explain precisely why it decided to stop defending DOMA, prompting speculation that the firm acted out of fear that it would possibly alienate recruits and firm clients who support same-sex marriage.

Clement fled the firm in protest. And last week Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced he would no longer send business to King & Spalding, stating that the firm had engaged in “an obsequious act of weakness,” the Washington Examiner reported.

Now, the NRA is parting company with the firm, the BLT Blog reports.

In a letter today to King & Spalding chairman Robert Hays, the BLT reports, NRA general counsel David Lehman said that in hiring firms, “we expect them to zealously advocate for our interests and not abandon the representation due to pressure from those who may disagree with us.”

King & Spalding spokesman Les Zuke declined to comment to the Law Blog about client defections over the DOMA matter.

Hays earlier said that in reviewing the DOMA assignment, “I determined that the process used for vetting this engagement was inadequate.”

UPDATE: We just touched base with the NRA’s David Lehman. If the firm, he said, is “willing to drop a client involved in a controversial issue then we don’t have confidence that under political pressure they won’t do that to another client.” He said the NRA hired King & Spalding and Clement to represent it in the Supreme Court case McDonald v. Chicago, which held that the Second Amendment applies to the states. He said the NRA subsequently hired the firm to write briefs in various cases and to conduct legal research. “I anticipate we will continue to use Paul Clement” at his new firm, Lehman said. deets here


Jim Hlavac said...

Oh the Right, and many on the left (Ruth Markus of the Washington Post calls gay folks a "bigger culprit" than anyone in this. Ha!) is in a tizzy over this one. But as I point out to them (1/2 dozen blog posts already on it, and dozens of comments at divers websites) -- the Supreme Court recently ruled in the Westboro case that every American has an absolute First Amendment right to lambaste anyone -- indeed "God Hates Fags" is legally protected speech, now isn't it? Yep. And we can be called "evil," "dysfunctional" "Anti-family" "anti-society" and "domestic terrorists." There is no limits on anti-gay speech. They all applauded that ruling as good for the nation.

Therefore, it is completely within the Constitutional rights of gay folks -- and our duty too -- to lambaste anyone who would defend that odious law. And we have a positive duty to disrupt that defense. Indeed, gay folks are in a fight for our lives, and thus we have a 2nd Amendment right to self-defense (Irony lost on NRA, I guess.)

And so no one should have cause for complaint that King & Spalding said the hell with the defense because of pressure from gays.

No one has seen fit to respond directly to the reasoning I put forth. For they really can't have a defense of our offense against this law.

But, still, that Westboro ruling is our defense, and it's hysterical the non-reaction except to complain that gay folks are complaining by saying "God hates defenders of DOMA."

I'm a-laughing up a big storm. :)

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