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.
Les Zuke, director of communications for King & Spalding, issued a statement this morning that the firm founded in Atlanta would no longer defend DOMA.
“Today the firm filed a motion to withdraw from its engagement to represent the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the House of Representatives on the constitutional issues regarding Section III of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. Last week we worked diligently through the process required for withdrawal," Robert D. Hays Jr., the firm's chairperson, said in a statement.
“In reviewing this assignment further, I determined that the process used for vetting this engagement was inadequate. Ultimately I am responsible for any mistakes that occurred and apologize for the challenges this may have created," Hays added.
What Atlanta's King & Spalding attorneys and employees think about the Defense of Marriage Act and their opinion on how they feel about the international law firm's decision to take on defending the Defense of Marriage Act will not be known, at least for the foreseeable future.
A story in the MetroWeekly states that all employees of the firm "are barred from advocating for the Respect of Marriage Act — the bill that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act — in the 112the Congress, according to the terms of the contract to defend DOMA that King & Spalding partner signed on the firm's behalf on April 14."
An Atlanta litigation paralegal sent an email to the managing partner of the locally-based King & Spalding law firm to express her dismay at the otherwise gay-friendly firm for its decision to defend the Defense of Marriage Act.
Pam Rymin, who is straight, also took the opportunity to introduce the firm to her co-worker, Joel Tucker, and his husband Robert Todd, who were legally married in Connecticut on June 10, 2010. She is a litigation paralegal with Buckley & Klein, a law firm focused on assisting those who say they have been discriminated against in the workplace.
"When I read yesterday that K&S has agreed to represent the Congressional GOP in its fight to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act, thereby seeking to continue to deny civil rights to a large portion of America’s population, I was very dismayed. Actually I was so angry it took me a full day to be calm enough to write this email," Rymin wrote in an email to Mason Stephenson, managing partner of the Atlanta office.