Whaddya know? Targeted protests and threats of boycotts really do work.
After weathering a few days of intense criticism, the Atlanta-based law firm has decided to drop a case in which it was hired by House Republicans to defend the law prohibiting federal recognition of same-sex marriage.
Here's the money quote, from a K&S press release sent out moments ago:
“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," Robert D. Hays Jr., the firm's chairperson said in a statement.
OK, "money quote" may have been an overstatement. I forgot we were talking about lawyers here. But he continues:
“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," Hays added.
In other words: "We had no idea we were going to get so much flak."
I'm guessing this whole episode is going to have a chilling effect on any firm signing up to take this case. At this point, I'd predict the only takers would be an openly right-wing firm or a small practice that wants to make a name for itself no matter the cost to its image.
If the GOP does manage to hire a firm and the case ends up in some high court show-down, who know who I'd love to see representing the plaintiffs? Why, ex-Georgia Congressman Bob Barr, the former Libertarian presidential candidate who authored DOMA and has since called for it to be overturned. Wouldn't that be cool?
UPDATE, 12:01 p.m.: Joe Solmonese of the Human Rights Campaign, one of the groups that heaped criticism on K&S, says in a statement:
“King & Spalding has rightly chosen to put principle above politics in dropping its involvement in the defense of this discriminatory and patently unconstitutional law. We are pleased to see the firm has decided to stand on the right side of history and remain true to its core values.
“Speaker Boehner is likely to pursue continued defense of this odious law. However, law firms that value LGBT equality should remain committed to those values.”
UPDATE, 12:03 p.m.: Politico reports that Paul Clement, the former U.S. solicitor general and K&S partner who was handling the DOMA case, has resigned in protest:
"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's already landed a new gig at another law firm.
"I believe people who have a mental history should not be able to purchase a…
The French advisory is intended for citizens of France, whose primary experience with a large…
The Cheetah (and Pink Pony and Gold Club back in the day ), together with…
@ Socialized risk, privatized gains "Friends in Cobb have told me that the stadium site…
Can someone, anyone, please point me to where by act of legislature Atlanta HAD to…
Dave: I believe people who have a mental history should not be able to purchase…