For $520 an hour, we'd do pretty much anything. (Anything.) But apparently the law firm King & Spalding has some standards. Speaker of the House John Boehner had hired King & Spalding partner Paul Clement, a former solicitor general under George W. Bush, to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court on behalf of Congress after the Justice Department decided that the law was probably unconstitutional and they didn't want any part in upholding it. But now the firm has bowed out as well, according to a statement:
"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," firm chairman Robert D. Hays, Jr. said in a statement. "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," he continued. "Ultimately I am responsible for any mistakes that occurred and apologize for the challenges this may have created."
What, exactly, did this inadequate vetting process overlook? That the gays, and friends of the gays, would be kind of pissed about this? That's what Clement implied when he resigned this morning over the firm's decision to drop the case.
"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."
Wow. The guys who want to preserve marriage as a solely heterosexual institution are now the "unpopular clients." That's something new.