Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Drama, Drama Obama, Holder, Clement And Continued Arguments In Defense Of DOMA

I was bothered a lot when Obama went back on his promise with regard to not defending DOMA, and then his DOJ filed really nasty briefs in support of it. They were even more egregious than anything Bush's DOJ ever filed, and they angered not only the GLBT community, but those that support marriage equality for all (and not just domestic partnership rights, but real marriage).

Then, after all Obama's DOJ did, they suddenly decided not to continue with the defense. Of course, perpetually orange skin fake tanned Boehner, decided Congress would hire a private firm (the law firm King & Spalding) to continue to oppose DOMA. However, they suddenly unemployed themselves (and one of the lead attorneys, Paul Clement, quit because of that decision).

The law firm King & Spalding stunned many observers Monday by abruptly withdrawing from representing the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) -- barely a week after coming under fire for signing on to defend the law on behalf of House Republicans. But the real shockwaves may have taken place within the firm, where, according to one insider, employees were at each other's throats over its decision to take on the case.

Obviously, the firm was not aware that most of America supports gay marriage.

Sources with knowledge of the backlash confirm that one of King & Spalding's top clients, Coca Cola, also based in Atlanta, directly intervened to press the firm to extricate itself from the case.

Then, of course, there was that onerous "contract."

This is a huge deal. Lawyers don't just drop cases. King & Spalding knew DOMA was controversial, but they took the case anyway. Then, once the controversy erupted last week, they fled. Granted, things were looking bad for King & Spalding. Petitions had been launched. Their embarrassing contract with Boehner was leaked, a contract that appeared to forbid any an all employees of King & Spalding, even those not working on the case, from doing any gay rights advocacy opposing DOMA (including, it seemed, even donating to a gay rights cause that didn't toe the official Boehner line on DOMA).
Naturally, Eric Holder, the White House Attorney General has to chime in with his two cents.

"Paul Clement is a great lawyer and has done a lot of really great things for this nation. In taking on the representation--representing Congress in connection with DOMA, I think he is doing that which lawyers do when we're at our best," Holder said during a roundtable with reporters at the Justice Department. "That criticism, I think, was very misplaced."

Holder also compared the criticism of Clement to the attacks on Justice Department lawyers for their past work for detentainees at Guantanamo. "It was something we dealt with here in the Department of Justice...The people who criticized our people here at the Justice Department were wrong then as are people who criticized Paul Clement for the representation that he's going to continue," Holder added.
As John Aravosis adroitly points out, "Criminal defendants have a constitutional right to counsel. Causes do not."

That's a good one. Now Eric Holder is suddenly the great defender of the eternally-incarcerated at Gitmo. But let's talk about Holder's offensive comparison of the American civil rights community to the anti-Muslim bigots and religious right filth who would let those detained at Gitmo rot on the vine because they're dark-skinned. It seems our top law enforcement officer isn't familiar with Constitution. Criminal defendants have a constitutional right to counsel. Causes do not. That's the difference between the Gitmo defendants and DOMA. It's offensive and embarrassing that Holder isn't aware of the difference.

And let's not forget what happened with this DOMA defense, and thus how it compares to the Gitmo trials. The lead Republican lawyer who Eric Holder is defending let the Republicans politicize the defense of DOMA and portray their move to hire him as a swipe at President Obama (funny that Obama's own Attorney General had no problem with that). The lead Republican lawyer had no problem letting Boehner portray the DOMA defense as a favor Boehner was doing for the religious right. Again, not a word from Holder. The DOMA defense was already politicized long before the gays weighed in in their own defense, and President Obama's Attorney General couldn't have cared less.

Did Democrats politicize the terror trials, forcing the Republicans to respond in kind? No.

Clients of King & Spalding were disgusted by the firm taking on a case defending bigotry. Did the same thing happen with the terror trials? No.

One can assume that new recruits and current staff of King & Spalding were not exactly pleased about the nature of the case, nor the fact that the firm's contract included a blatant effort to restrict the free speech rights of the firm's employees, even those not working on the case (ordering them not to do anything, even on their free time, that might help overturn DOMA). Did all of that happen on the terror trials, forcing the Republicans to intervene? No.

The defense of the DOMA brief was politicized from the beginning by the GOP. The terror trials were politicized by the GOP. That's the only thing these two issues have in common.

Perhaps it's time someone explained to our Attorney General the difference between those who criticize you for defending the Bill of Rights versus those who criticize you for attacking the Bill of Rights.
Now it appears that Clement's new firm, Bancroft PLCC, will handle he eternal tan man's insistence that DOMA needs to be defended. As John stated: "I think Bancroft PLLC just bought itself a world of pain."

No comments: