AP070827059786King and Spalding, a high-profile law firm that had agreed to defend the federal government's law prohibiting gay marriage, has now reversed course and dropped the case, according to Politico. Firm chairman Robert D. Hays, Jr said through a spokesman that "the process used for vetting this engagement was inadequate."
Hays didn't comment further on why King and Spalding dropped the case, but the firm did face something of an about face after House Speaker John Boehner touted the appointment of Paul Clement, Hays' partner, to defend the Defense of Marriage Act last week. (UPDATE: Clement has resigned over the decision to drop the case and will continue to represent the House of Representatives at a new law firm. "Defending unpopular clients is what lawyers do," he wrote.)
The Department of Justice now refuses to defend DOMA in court after finding parts of it unconstitutional, but Justice officials gave the House of Representatives the opportunity to appoint someone to defend the law. Boehner and other House members appointed Clement, the former U.S. solicitor general, to carry on with the defense as various cases challenging the law make their way to the Supreme Court.
Gay rights groups called the appointment of Clement a waste of taxpayer money (he agreed to bill the government at a stiff $520 an hour) and started an online petition to pressure the firm to drop the case. The firm was also accused of hypocrisy for spotlighting its gay and lesbian nondiscrimination policies on its website while defending the federal government's right to refuse to recognize same-sex marriage.Read More »from In reversal, major law firm drops DOMA defense