In response to pressure from LGBT groups, King & Spalding—the powerful Atlanta-based law firm chosen by House Republicans to defend the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act in federal court—abruptly abandoned its defense of the indefensible law in April.
“In reviewing this assignment further, I determined that the process used for vetting this engagement was inadequate,” explained the firm’s top attorney Robert Hays, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The lead attorney on the DOMA case, King & Spalding partner Paul Clement, immediately resigned to continue campaigning in favor of the act on behalf of House Speaker John Boehner and Co. at Bancroft PLLC, a law firm known for defending conservative principles. A Boehner spokesman said his move to Bancroft will “ensure the constitutionality of this law is appropriately determined by the courts, rather than by the President unilaterally.”
King & Spalding seems to be following the Obama Administration’s lead. In a letter to Congress in February of this year, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the judiciary branch had no compelling interest in continuing to defend the constitutionality of the act. (Maybe he realized it is unconstitutional.)
“Many of us were stunned, shocked and angered when it became known that King & Spalding had taken on this case, and we are gratefully relieved to find out they had withdrawn,” said Jeff Graham, executive director of the LGBT group Georgia Equality.
“In America, every person deserves a defense, but not every position does,” agreed Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry. “The House leaders pushing this abuse of taxpayer money to find a hired gun to defend DOMA should follow King & Spalding’s lead, and reconsider whether they really want to be on the side of unfairness and the wrong side of history.”