The private law firm hired by House Speaker John Boehner to represent the government in the federal Defense of Marriage Act has suddenly pulled out of the case.
The chairman of King & Spalding said Monday the firm’s internal vetting for accepting representation was “inadequate.”
As a result, the high-profile lawyer who was to lead the legal fight for House Republicans has resigned immediately from the firm. Paul Clement, who was a top partner at the firm, wrote in a letter, “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. Defending unpopular clients is what lawyers do.”
The decision by the Atlanta-based law firm to withdraw is a victory for gay-rights supporters that have tried to have the Defense of Marriage Act repealed or tossed out on constitutional grounds in court. Those groups had urged King & Spalding in recent days to drop out of the case, and were preparing a national campaign to highlight the company’s efforts.
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