Paul Clement, the attorney hired to
defend in court the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), has resigned from
the Atlanta-based law firm King & Spalding after the
firm announced on Monday it was withdrawing from the case.
House Speaker John Boehner appointed
and led a committee that instructed House counsel to defend the law
in court after the Obama administration announced it would no longer
do so. The president has said he believes the law that bans federal
recognition of the marriages of gay and lesbian couples is
Gay rights groups had begun to mobilize
a campaign against the firm, which stood to gain as much $500,000
from the case. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest
gay rights advocate, had
scheduled a press conference for Tuesday near the firm's
Atlanta-based headquarters to discuss the campaign.
Almost immediately after Chairman
Robert D. Hays, Jr. announced
the reversal on Monday, the legal blog Above the Law
Clement's blistering letter of resignation, in which he chided
his former employer for “abandoning” his client.
“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,”
Clement wrote. “Defending unpopular positions is what lawyers do.”
“I have every good wish for the firm,
but I intend to follow Judge [Griffin] Bell's guidance and see this
representation through with my new colleagues at Bancroft PLLC.”
Bancroft PLLC is the Washington-based
law firm founded by Viet D. Dinh, a former assistant attorney general
and law professor at Georgetown University Law Center.