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Mr. Carter Goes to North Korea | Main | Open Thread
April 25, 2011

Threat Of Protests From Gay Groups Pressures Law Firm That Is Happy To Represent Gitmo Detainees For Free Into Dropping Representation Of House Of Representatives In DOMA Case

You may recall that in February the Obama administration announced it would no longer defend parts of the Defense of Marriage Act in court. The House of Representatives took up the case and hired former Solicitor General Paul Clement as its attorney.

Gay groups then geared up to pressure Clement's firm, King and Spaulding, to withdraw their representation on the grounds that representing the House to defend a duly enacted law is hate or something. Not surprisingly the firm caved and now Clement has resigned from the firm.

In a letter to King & Spalding chairman Robert Hays, Clement says he chose to resign not because he has strong personal views about DOMA. Rather, he writes, "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."

King & Spalding had faced protests and threats from pro-gay marriage groups in light of its decision to defend DOMA.

"Efforts to delegitimize any representation for one side of a legal controversy are a profound threat to the rule of law," Clement continues. "Much has been said about being on the wrong side of history. But being on the right or wrong side on the merits is a question for clients. When it comes to the lawyers, the surest way to be on the wrong side of history is to abandon a client in the face of hostile criticism."

So upscale firm King and Spalding won't represent the US House of Representatives but you know who they will represent? Guantanamo Bay terror detainees.

Meet John Chandler who joined King and Spalding as a Partner in 2008

Last week John A. Chandler retired from Sutherland to consider, he said, the next phase of his life. Meanwhile his wife and fellow litigator, Elizabeth V. Tanis, left Sutherland for King & Spalding in hopes of bigger opportunities for her accountancy liability practice.

On Monday, Chandler joined Tanis at King & Spalding, becoming a partner at the firm, after a 36-year career at Sutherland.


Chandler said continuing to practice with Tanis, the potential to expand his practice abetted by King & Spalding's larger geographic footprint and the firm's willingness to support his pro bono representation of several Guantanamo detainees induced him to change firms. He'd spent his entire career at Sutherland, where he headed the litigation practice until May, handling professional liability and securities cases, plus other complex business litigation.

...Chandler was the lead lawyer for Sutherland's Guantanamo detainee cases, a pro bono effort he started almost four years ago with other lawyers from the firm. He said he'll continue to represent the detainees in conjunction with the Sutherland lawyers. "King & Spalding has told me to do whatever I need to do," he said. A federal judge has scheduled a March status conference for five of Sutherland's Guantanamo cases and Chandler said he and the Sutherland lawyers would ask for expedited hearings.

Last week, after his retirement from Sutherland, Chandler expressed interest in a post with the Obama administration to end detainees' imprisonment at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which President-elect Barack Obama has promised will be a priority of his administration. Chandler said Friday that he'd still like to work on Guantanamo matters for Obama -- but not as a full-time employee. "To be able to advise and help is something I'm very interested in," he said.

Emphasis mine.


*I corrected the headline and second paragraph because apparently there haven't been any protests yet by gay rights groups, so this is a preemptive surrender. Of course there may have well been some private communications give how tied into liberal groups this firm obviously is.

digg this
posted by DrewM. at 12:28 PM

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