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Entries in Paul Clement (2)

Monday
Apr252011

DOMA Defense Triggers Legal Turmoil

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images (file)(WASHINGTON) -- The former solicitor general for President George W. Bush who was tapped by House Republicans to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act in court abruptly resigned from one of the nation's top law firms Monday after it refused to provide legal services in support of the law.

Paul Clement, a partner at the law firm King & Spalding, was appointed by House Speaker John Boehner last week to step in for Justice Department lawyers who withdrew from several pending cases involving DOMA in February. The law defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

Attorney General Eric Holder said at the time that the Obama administration concluded that laws treating gays and lesbians differently deserve a heightened form of legal scrutiny, which, in turn, could result in finding the law unconstitutional.

House Republicans have insisted only the judges should decide on the law's constitutionality, and in a contract with King & Spalding, agreed to pay $520 per hour for up to $500,000 total for Clement and the firm's legal services to defend the statute in court.

But Monday, the firm made an about face, unexpectedly announcing that it had withdrawn from representing the cases. Robert D. Hays Jr., the firm's chairman, said in a statement that the methods used for vetting the representation were "inadequate."

Gay and lesbian rights groups, which had mounted intense pressure on the firm for accepting the case, celebrated the reversal. "King & Spalding has rightly chosen to put principle above politics in dropping its involvement in the defense of this discriminatory and patently unconstitutional law," said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign. "We are pleased to see the firm has decided to stand on the right side of history and remain true to its core values."

Clement later resigned and blasted Hays' decision in a letter, saying the firm had backed down because its client's legal position was unpopular. He vowed to continue a legal defense of DOMA. Clement said that he "recognized from the outset" that the statute implicates sensitive issues "on both sides" but that "having undertaken the representation, I believe there is no honorable course for me but to complete it."

Clement said he would move to the Bancroft firm and continue in his role as private counsel on behalf of the U.S. House.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr192011

Boehner's Marriage Act Defense: $520/Hour

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The Harvard-educated private attorney tapped by House Republicans to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court will cost taxpayers $520 per hour, according to a copy of the legal services contract reviewed by ABC News.

House Speaker John Boehner appointed Paul D. Clement, former Solicitor General for George W. Bush, to the job Monday, nearly two months after the Justice Department said its lawyers would no longer defend DOMA in court.

Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department concluded that laws treating gays and lesbians differently deserve a heightened form of legal scrutiny, which, in turn, would result in finding the law unconstitutional.

Under the arrangement with the U.S. House of Representatives, Clement will now be "principally responsible" for arguing on behalf of the 1996 law in at least 12 pending cases challenging its constitutionality. But a "substantial portion" of the legal work will be done by two of Clement's associates from the law firm King & Spalding, Daryl Joseffer and Jeffrey Bucholtz.

The contract says the government will not spend more than $500,000 total for all legal services performed in defense of the law. But it does not rule out a new contract if the ceiling is reached.

The cost of defending DOMA, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman for federal purposes, has drawn fire from Democrats who say Republicans are spending taxpayer dollars unnecessarily.

But Republicans insist that the Obama administration has created the predicament by not following precedent in defending an established law, whether they support it or not.

Boehner indicated in a letter Monday to Pelosi that he intends to offset the cost of a private counsel with reductions from the Justice Department's budget.

The House and Senate would have to approve any shift in appropriations. In the interim, funding will come from the House Administration Committee, Boehner said in his letter. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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