Paul Clement Hub




National Rifle Association Cuts Ties with 'King and Spalding' Over Dropping of DOMA Case

Last Thursday I mentioned that Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced that the state was cutting its ties with law firm King & Spalding over the firm's decision to withdraw from the defense of DOMA.

Nra Now, the National Rifle Association has followed suit.

Said the NRA's letter to the firm, in part:

We are writing to notify you of our decision to terminate our legal services agreement with King & Spalding, effective immediately, due to the firm's decision to bow to political pressure and abandon a client in the midst of a legal representation. Specifically, our decision is motivated by your withdrawal as counsel for the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the U.S. House of Representatives in defense of Section III of the Defense of Marriage Act.

We believe King & Spalding's decision is indefensible and raises serious concerns about its ability to be a reliable and effective advocate for any client facing potentially controversial litigation.

To be clear, our decision is not motivated by any position on the statute itself. As you know, the National Rifle Association is a single-issue organization dedicated to the protection of the Second Amendment. We are, however, often involved in controversial issues on which emotions can run high.

Previously...
The Curious Case of Paul Clement [tr]
Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli Cuts State's Ties with King & Spalding for Obsequious Act of Weakness in DOMA Case [tr]


Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli Cuts State's Ties with 'King & Spalding' for 'Obsequious Act of Weakness' in DOMA Case

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is not happy that King & Spalding chose against LGBT discrimination.

The Washington Examiner reports: Ken_cuccinelli

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has terminated his office's relationship with King & Spalding, the Atlanta law firm that abrubtly dropped the U.S. House of Representatives as a client for purposes of defending the Defense of Marriage Act.

"King & Spalding's willingness to drop a client, the U.S. House of Representatives, in connection with the lawsuit challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was such an obsequious act of weakness that I feel compelled to end your legal association with Virginia so that there is no chance that one of my legal clients will be put in the embarrassing and difficult situation like the client you walked away from, the House of Representatives," Cuccinelli said in a letter to Joseph Lynch in the firm's Washington, D.C. office.

You may recall that Cuccinelli came under fire last year for advising public universities that they should rescind their bylaws protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination and later saying that homosexual acts are a detriment to our culture.

Recently...
The Curious Case of Paul Clement [tr]


The Curious Case of Paul Clement

BY ARI EZRA WALDMAN

Ari Ezra Waldman is a 2002 graduate of Harvard College and a 2005 graduate of Harvard Law School. After practicing in New York for five years and clerking at a federal appellate court in Washington, D.C., Ari is now on the faculty at California Western School of Law in San Diego, California. His research focuses on gay rights and the First Amendment. Ari will be writing weekly posts on law and various LGBT issues. 

Follow Ari on Twitter at @ariezrawaldman.

Clement After President Barack Obama decided that his administration will no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the Republican-controlled House of Representatives chose Paul Clement, a former solicitor general in the administration of President George W. Bush, to step in. At the time, Mr. Clement was a partner at the large firm King & Spalding LLP, billing at more than $500 per hour and eager to take on the defense. When he retained Mr. Clement, Speaker John Boehner insisted on a "gag rule" that would have barred all K&S attorneys and staff from being involved in anything or saying anything that could be seen as opposing DOMA. But, almost as suddenly as Mr. Clement took the reins did King & Spalding reverse course, declining to take the case and forcing Mr. Clement to flee to the conservative Bancroft firm to continue his representation of the House.

This was a pretty remarkable story, with at least three lessons. This drama is not really about wanting the best defense for DOMA -- it should, and will, get a vigorous defense despite this saga; rather, it is about (1) the role of public money in squelching speech and (2) the responsibilities of large law firms. Most importantly, this hiccup in the House's defense of DOMA illustrates the progress we have made in the court of public opinion and the reason why persuading hearts and minds is the real battle.

Some thoughts on how House Republicans overplayed their hands and created free speech concerns, the (admittedly belated) ordinariness of K&S's ultimate decision and the importance of public opinion AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "The Curious Case of Paul Clement" »


Attorney General Eric Holder Defends DOMA-Defender Paul Clement; Employees Describe 'Mayhem' at Firm

Attorney General Eric Holder spoke out in defense of former King & Spalding attorney Paul Clement in a news conference with reporters yesterday, Politico's Josh Gerstein reports:

Holder "Paul Clement is a great lawyer and has done a lot of really great things for this nation. In taking on the representation--representing Congress in connection with DOMA, I think he is doing that which lawyers do when we're at our best," Holder said during a roundtable with reporters at the Justice Department. "That criticism, I think, was very misplaced."

Holder also compared the criticism of Clement to the attacks on Justice Department lawyers for their past work for detainees at Guantanamo.  "It was something we dealt with here in the Department of Justice...The people who criticized our people here at the Justice Department were wrong then, as are people who criticized Paul Clement for the representation that he's going to continue," Holder added.

Holder said he wasn't laying blame for Clement's disagreement with King & Spalding or disputing the firm's claim it withdrew due to improper vetting of the agreement to represent the House of Representatives, which is stepping into the cases after President Barack Obama concluded that DOMA is unconstitutional and ordered the Justice Department to stop defending it in court.

Kingspalding In related news, the HuffPost's Amanda Terkel reports that there was "mayhem" at King & Spalding after employees discovered the firm had taken on the case:

“Management was divided, people were threatening to quit,” the source said. In addition, it was unclear if members of the firm’s Diversity Committee had been consulted ahead of time about taking on the case.

**

The ripple effects of the firm taking on the case have extended beyond King & Spalding's Washington, D.C. offices. Pam Rymin, a litigation paralegal with another firm in Atlanta, made headlines last week for publicly complaining to King & Spalding's Atlanta leg, saying the gay community may be incensed enough to start holding rallies in protest of doing business with the company.

Background on King & Spalding's involvement
HRC Confirms it Pressured King & Spalding's Clients on DOMA Issue [tr]
Paul Clement Resigns from King & Spalding [tr]
King & Spalding Firm Backing Out of DOMA Case [tr]
Protests Planned for DOMA-Defending Law Firm [tr]
King & Spalding Firm to Face Backlash Over Defending DOMA [tr]
DOMA Firm's Gag Order Revealed [tr]
DOMA Defense to Cost American Taxpayers $500K, Maybe More [tr]
House Files Motion to Intervene in DOMA Lawsuit [tr]
Former Bush Solicitor General Paul Clement to Lead DOMA Defense [tr]
DOMA-Defending Attorney Paul Clement's Firm is Proud of its Pro-LGBT Policies [tr]


HRC Confirms it Pressured King & Spalding's Clients on DOMA Issue

UPDATED

Greg Sargent at The Plum Line talks to HRC about claims by conservative bloggers that "the left engaged in an 'unprincipled campaign' of intimidation" after King & Spalding decided to take on the DOMA defense.

Sainz HRC's Fred Sainz (pictured) unapologetically confirms the group did pressure the firm's clients.

Good for them:

Sainz said his group did not ask any of the firm’s clients to drop the firm in retaliation for taking the case, as is being assumed by conservatives who are alleging an untoward pressure campaign. Rather, he said, his group informed the firm’s clients that taking the case was out of sync with King and Spalding’s commitment to diversity, which it proudly advertises on its Web site.

“King and Spalding’s clients are listed on its web site, so we did what you would expect us to do,” Sainz told me. “We are an advocacy firm that is dedicated to improving the lives of gays and lesbians. It is incumbent on us to launch a full-throated educational campaign so firsm know that these kinds of engagements will reflect on the way your clients and lawschool recruits think of your firm.”

“We did all of this, and we’re proud to have done it,” added Sainz, who declined to name which King and Spalding clients his group contacted.

UPDATE: Another report says Coca-Cola was the client to get King & Spalding off the case.

Sources with knowledge of the backlash confirm that one of King & Spalding's top clients, Coca Cola, also based in Atlanta, directly intervened to press the firm to extricate itself from the case.

A Coca Cola spokesman declined to comment on or off the record for this story, but pointed TPM to the company's long public history of support for equality and diversity.

Gay rights group: You’re damn right we pressured law firm on DOMA [plum line]

Background on King & Spalding's involvement
Paul Clement Resigns from King & Spalding [tr]
King & Spalding Firm Backing Out of DOMA Case [tr]
Protests Planned for DOMA-Defending Law Firm [tr]
King & Spalding Firm to Face Backlash Over Defending DOMA [tr]
DOMA Firm's Gag Order Revealed [tr]
DOMA Defense to Cost American Taxpayers $500K, Maybe More [tr]
House Files Motion to Intervene in DOMA Lawsuit [tr]
Former Bush Solicitor General Paul Clement to Lead DOMA Defense [tr]
DOMA-Defending Attorney Paul Clement's Firm is Proud of its Pro-LGBT Policies [tr]


Watch: Thomas Roberts on Paul Clement and the DOMA Defense

Roberts_clement

Thomas Roberts spoke with Politico's Josh Gerstein about Paul Clement's departure from King & Spalding and what it means for both Clement and the DOMA case. They also discuss the shift in attitudes toward gay rights, and the legal defense of anti-gay statutes.

Thanks to Thomas, who is often the only daytime (or nighttime in many cases) news anchor covering these issues, for the nice shout-out to Towleroad.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

(clip via Igor Volsky at the Wonk Room)

Continue reading "Watch: Thomas Roberts on Paul Clement and the DOMA Defense" »


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