Defense of Marriage Act

Paul Clement (left) and John Boehner (right)

The leading law firm of King & Spalding, which came under fire from LGBT rights groups after its defense of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) became public last week, has moved to withdraw from the litigation. The firm cited problems with the vetting process applied to the engagement.

And Paul Clement, the former U.S. Solicitor General and King & Spalding partner who was going to spearhead the DOMA defense, is now a former K&S partner. He resigned from K&S this morning, in response to the firm’s withdrawal decision. Clement will continue his representation of the House of Representatives in DOMA litigation from his new home, Bancroft PLLC, the high-powered D.C. boutique founded by a fellow alum of the Bush Department of Justice, Georgetown law professor Viet Dinh.

UPDATE (12:20 PM): We reached out for comment to Professor Dinh, who said: “Paul wins the biggest cases and Bancroft solves the most complex problems. This is a no brainer. We will continue to do what Paul and I love doing most, which is to serve the best interests of our clients.”

Let’s take a look at King & Spalding’s stated justification for dropping the DOMA representation, and at Paul Clement’s resignation letter….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Paul Clement Quits King & Spalding After K&S Moves to Drop DOMA Defense”

[A] lawyer who defends an individual or a law, no matter how unpopular or distasteful, helps ensure that the outcome is viewed as fair. If DOMA is struck down, the fact that it was defended effectively will make the victory for its opponents more credible…. We hope [Paul] Clement loses, but we don’t begrudge him the assignment. Even a lawyer of his skills will find it hard to defend a discriminatory law like DOMA.

– a Los Angeles Times staff editorial, defending former Solicitor General Paul Clement and his law firm, King & Spalding, against criticism of their defense of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Paul Clement (left) and John Boehner (right)

They say that everyone is entitled to a lawyer. [FN1] But is everyone entitled to the services of former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement, one of our nation’s finest appellate advocates? At a discounted rate, no less?

As we mentioned in yesterday’s Non-Sequiturs, the U.S. House of Representatives has hired Paul Clement and Clement’s law firm, the venerable King & Spalding, to defend the Defense of Marriage Act. DOMA, which essentially bars recognition of same-sex marriages for purposes of federal law, has been struck down in part by various federal courts, and the Obama Administration has decided to stop defending the 1996 law in constitutional challenges.

So the House Republicans have stepped up to the plate to defend DOMA. And they’ve hired some high-powered counsel for the task, namely, Clement and King & Spalding.

The contract between the House and King & Spalding was made public today by the office of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (after Speaker John Boehner declined to release it). The agreement contains some interesting tidbits, including the hourly rate the House will be paying, as well as a cap (although an adjustable one) on the fees to be paid to K&S.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Paul Clement and King & Spalding Defend DOMA — at a Discount”

Paul Clement (left) and John Boehner (right)

* House Speaker John Boehner and former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement, now at King & Spalding, have joined forces to fight marriage equality by defending DOMA. Talk about two people who will not be taking their talents to South Beach. [The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times]

* The tax returns of Barack Obama and Joe Biden have been made public. Notes Professor Paul Caron: “It’s amazing how much more politicians give to charity in years in which they know their tax returns will be released to the public (although Biden still tosses around gifts to charity like manhole covers).” [TaxProf Blog]

* Sorry, Chief Judge Kozinski: Winkelvii non quitum. [Fox News]

* DLA Piper promotes 53 lawyers to partnership. For the blue wedge, name all the offices that are getting new partners. [Am Law Daily; DLA Piper (press release)]

* If you were underwhelmed with OCI at your law school, a new service — JD Match, founded by law-firm consultant and blogger Bruce MacEwen — wants to try to match you up with employers ready to hire. [WSJ Law Blog]

* People keep acting like their law firms are hunting for associates expressing discontent. But law firms aren’t as paranoid as Roger Ailes. [Gawker]

* It’s always nice when our nation’s legal system comes to the defense of punk bands. [Los Angeles Times]

* It’s almost time for the anniversary of the historical basis for Texas thinking it’s better than everybody else. [The Defense Rests via Blawg Review]

* Happy Passover to everyone. Don’t forget your blowtorches. [Wall Street Journal]

Mel Gibson

* Mel Gibson has reached a plea agreement in a battery case involving his ex-girlfriend. #losing #BeaverBlood [Associated Press]

* Meanwhile, Lilo isn’t accepting her plea deal. No ma’am. Not for all the Texas booger sugar in the world. Well, maybe for all the Texas booger sugar. But that wasn’t really offered. [New York Post]

* A look at Jowls McRaisinhead’s Arlen Specter’s move to solo practice. [Legal Intelligencer via WSJ Law Blog]

* The Wisconsin Senate passed sweeping curbs on collective bargaining yesterday. The protesters are still howling, but I wonder how loud they’ll be when Pinkertons shove batons in their faces. That’s not actually happening. I just have a fairly violent and anachronistic imagination. [Reuters]

* House Republicans have gone meta in promising a defense of the Defense of Marriage Act. [Los Angeles Times]

* State Senator Carl Kruger, of Brooklyn, will turn himself in on corruption charges today. Big up to Crooklyn. [New York Times]

* Coach Sweater Vest’s hilarious understanding of attorney-client privilege is hilarious. [The Lantern]

* Profits per partner at Kirkland & Ellis topped $3 million in 2010, and the firm boosted its revenue even though it shed some lawyers. I Can Has Spring Bonus? [Am Law Daily]

Hal Turner

* Apparently hearsay exceptions are still hard to grasp, even for justices on the Supreme Court. [CNN Justice]

* Threaten judges over a ban on guns and your own guns get banned. Hal Turner gets pistol-whipped by karma. [Bloomberg]

* Obama is giving states the “flexibility” to drop federal health care reform by 2014 — that is, if the Supreme Court doesn’t hear the issue before then. [New York Times]

* Would you still eat a chick’s taco if she told you she was only 88% real woman? Taco Bell employs the tranny surprise method in its latest post-lawsuit ad campaign. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Yeah, we know Obama told us to stop defending DOMA. Well, we’re not defending DOMA, we’re just not not enforcing it. [San Jose Mercury News]

* I bet students at SMU Law are psyched that they’re going into massive loan debt so that they can pay their classmates’ salaries. [National Law Journal]

* Protip: if you ever get prosecuted for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants, just blame it on your Latino HR director. ¡Sí se puede! [Washington Post]

* Hey, Muammar Gaddafi. Bad news bro. The Oscars are over, we’re going to be focusing on stuff again. So, maybe this would be a good time to pack up your stuff and go, before our glamor hangover wears off. [Wall Street Journal]

* Obama’s gay marriage views are still… evolutionary. Tico Almeida looks at how Obama’s rejection of DOMA might affect the fight for a proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). [The Bilerico Project]

* I can’t wait until Marin comes back from vacation and breaks her foot off up in Charlie Sheen’s ass, again. [Slate]

* But be careful when dealing with Sheen. His lawyers know how to write a mean letter. [Radar Online]

* The Mets can’t even figure out how to sell kosher hot dogs. Does Mark Cuban need a special invitation to come save us? [New York Daily News]

* So, ballpark, just how much does an influential business ethicist make these days? And check out the top 10 list of unethical actors (bottom of the page), which includes a few lawyers. [Ethisphere]

* I know it’s not right, but if I was at a conference for First Amendment lawyers, I’d wait until everybody was in the main ballroom and then shout “fire.” I promise I’d do it, and I’d get big laughs too, even from the people who were accidentally trampled. [Underdog]

* The Oscars are over, but the battle for Blawg Review of the Year is just beginning. [Blawg Review]

* Yes, we have seen the excellent GW Law Revue video based on the Cee Lo Green song (embedded above). No need to send it to us again. In fact, please do not send us links to any Law Revue videos until we announce the start of our third annual Law Revue Video Contest (perhaps next month, but stay tuned). [YouTube]

* The SEC’s general counsel, David Becker, gets involved in the Madoff litigation — as a defendant, in an action brought by trustee Irving Picard. [Am Law Daily]

* An update on the Stroock “typo” saga. [The Real Deal]

Stan Chesley and his wife, Judge Susan Dlott

* Lawyer of the Day: Stan Chesley. Being married to a federal judge, with whom you live in a 27,000-square-foot mansion, doesn’t protect you against possible disbarment. [Wall Street Journal via WSJ Law Blog]

* Well this is embarrassing, isn’t it? Several answers to questions on the U.S. citizenship test are just plain wrong. [Slate]

* Ted Frank isn’t a fan of DOMA as a policy matter, but he disagrees with President Obama’s decision to stop defending it. [New York Daily News]

* If you thought that my obituary for Skadden name partner Joe Flom was too kind, even sycophantic, then read this one from the WaPo. [Washington Post]

President Obama has directed the Department of Justice to stop defending Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the 1996 law prohibiting federal recognition of same-sex marriage. Attorney General Eric Holder’s letter explaining the decision to Speaker of the House John Boehner appears here.

In other marriage-equality-related news, the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) — the organization represented by Ted Olson and Davis Boies inthe Prop 8 litigation — has filed a motion in the Ninth Circuit, asking that court to lift its stay on same-sex marriage in California.

Read more at the links below.

UPDATE: For some reactions to this news, see, e.g., the ACLU (pleased) and Ted Frank (displeased).

BREAKING: DOJ Will No Longer Defend Section 3 of DOMA [Poliglot / Metro Weekly]
Obama Orders End to Defense of Federal Gay Marriage Law [New York Times]
AFER Asks U.S. Court of Appeals to Lift the Stay on Marriage for Gay and Lesbian Couples [American Foundation for Equal Rights]

Mayor Luther Campbell?

* A Valentine’s Day deportation that separates a loving couple sounds exactly like something that would make Jesus happy. Oh wait a minute, that’s not right at all. [Stop the Deportations: The DOMA Project]

* Virginia Thomas, Clarence Thomas’s wife, is now a lobbyist. Well, one of them has to talk, I guess. [Politico]

* Ann Althouse doesn’t just marry commenters, she talks like them too. [Althouse]

* I understand why people are annoyed when somebody edits your work and takes all the “color and attitude” out of it. But I have a solution: start a blog! That way, instead of begging the New York Times to publish your unedited thoughts, you can just publish your unedited thoughts. All hail the 21st Century. [The Volokh Conspiracy via ABA Journal]

* Being a female lawyer is a bitch, might as well own it. [Lawyerist]

* Luther Campbell (of 2 Live Crew fame) is running for mayor of Miami. You can be a white professional wrestler and be governor; let’s see if you can be a black rapper and be mayor. [Miami New Times]

* This isn’t legal, but it’s certainly the most interested I’ve ever been in garbage in Austin. And you will be too. [City of Austin Community Forum]

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