Backlash from some of Atlanta-based King & Spalding’s clients upset with the firm’s decision to drop its defense of DOMA for U.S. House Republican is beginning to pile up.
On Monday, the National Rifle Association sent a letter to King & Spalding chair Robert Hays to tell him the organization no longer needed his services and that his decision to back out of a contract with the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the U.S. House was “indefensible” due to the firm’s decision to “bow to political pressure. “ Read the entire letter here.
King & Spalding, with Paul Clement as the lead attorney, successfully defended the NRA in a Supreme Court case last year dealing with the Second Amendment.
Clement, former Solicitor General of the U.S. under George W. Bush, was all set to defend DOMA, but resigned after King & Spalding decided not to take the case. Clement now works for a small law firm in Washington, D.C., and is staying on to defend DOMA.
NRA, Virginia Attorney General drop King & Spalding after firm’s decision to not defend DOMA
Gay rights groups, such as the Human Rights Campaign and Georgia Equality, put significant pressure on King & Spalding about its decision to defend the anti-gay federal legislation. King & Spalding has a reputation of being gay-friendly, supporting gay causes and boasting on its website its dedication to diversity in hiring practices.
In the letter to Hays from NRA general counsel David Lehman, Lehman called the firm’s decision to back out of defending DOMA as “indefensible” but followed by stating the NRA’s decision was “not motivated by any position on the statute itself” because the NRA is a “single issue organization” — that of defending the Second Amendment.
“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 last week to the firm’s D.C. office. The letter was provided to The Washington Examiner.