The House Republicans feel strongly that only certain people should have equal rights so they plan to defend DOMA. They’ve hired some high-powered counsel for the task.
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. They say that everyone is entitled to a lawyer. But is everyone entitled to the services of former U.S. Solicitor General, one of our nation’s appellate advocates? 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.
The contract between the House and King & Spalding was made public 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?
Over at Politico, Josh Gerstein discusses the highlights of the contract, as well as the reaction from a Pelosi spokesperson:
Leaders in the House have agreed to pay up to $520 an hour and up to $500,000 to a law firm retained to defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act after President Barack Obama instructed the Justice Department not to defend a key part of the law….
A spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who opposed the House’s move to step into about a dozen pending suits over DOMA, issued a statement Tuesday portraying the hiring of Clement as a waste.
“The hypocrisy of this legal boondoggle is mind-blowing. Speaker Boehner is spending half a million dollars of taxpayer money to defend discrimination. If Republicans were really interested in cutting spending, this should be at the top of the list,” the spokesman, Drew Hammill, said.
I would think the LGBT associates there, the diversity committee, indeed anybody who values equal rights, should be throwing a real fit over this.
You can read the engagement letter here. See paragraph 4(g), which bars all K&S attorneys from any advocacy to alter or amend DOMA. So ALL K&S associates can’t even participate in protests, contact their Representative or Senator, work with civil rights organizations, donate money, etc., in support of recently-introduced legislation to repeal DOMA.
K&S is the new firm for bigotry. I hope it gets labeled as such. If you are not willing to fight then what are you willing to lose? A chance for Equality?
Contact Paul Clement, King & Spalding law firm TODAY! Your future depends on it!