Most of you would be very comfortable filling those brackets with any number of disfavored groups because you believe, and rightly so, that speech is important and everyone is entitled to a strong defense regardless of the speech involved. Most of you, I suspect, would extend that to cover a wider sphere than just speech as well, and would agree that each deserves his day in court - especially if some injustice has a shot at being ended over the objection of a vocal and belligerent opposition.
I agree entirely.
Now let's turn our thoughts to this:
The law firm hired by the GOP to defend DOMA has thought better of it.
edit: reading the article, it looks like it's probably not the only firm the GOP hired, but still.
Awesome. Good for that law firm.
I believe marriage ought not be restricted by sex. Let me say this again lest various geese decide black is white, up is down, and I am a homophobe: I believe marriage ought not be restricted by sex. Period.
But I also believe that those opposed to the idea have their day in court, that they may be ultimately defeated. Furthermore, I believe that questions addressed by DOMA cannot be put to rest within our society by simply ignoring them - DOMA should be defended, that it can be struck down over that vigorous defense.
There's no victory in beating a side that doesn't take the field.
More broadly, being pleased that public opinion drove this law firm out of the case is entirely wrongheaded. No one threatened to boycott the firms employing defenders of the WTC bombing. Tim McVeigh's lawfirm still gets candidates from all over the nation. Johnnie Cochran still has a job*. No law school tried to intimidate the firms involved with Lawrence v. Texas
, on either side, or the legal parties involved in Citizens United
. Legal history is awash in unjust laws and evil men whose lawyers did not suffer for the odious nature of the clients for whom they worked.
All this is entirely sensible, because it is sensible to believe that even the most odious positions, even the most unjust laws, even the most evil people deserve a vigorous defense in court. If you believe DOMA should never have been passed, and never been signed into law, I agree with you. If you believe the Obama administration was right in its decision not to defend the law, we might quibble a bit over the Constitutional duties of the Executive, but I suspect we'd end up agreeing. If you think the House is making a poor moral decision in deciding to defend the law, we might disagree a little more strenuously - there are reasons beyond bigotry to mount a defense.
However, if you believe that it's a good thing to see a vocal and belligerent minority intimidate a law firm into abandoning a case because its client or position was unpopular, I must disagree in the strongest terms. The ramifications are too great, and no one who wishes to see DOMA repealed would want this shoe on the other foot.
Paul Clement, former US Solicitor General, said this today:
"Much has been said about being on the wrong side of history. But being on the right or wrong side of history on the merits is a question for the clients... When it comes to the lawyers, the surest way to be on the wrong side of history is to abandon a client in the face of hostile criticism."
He speaks the truth. Critics of DOMA are correct, and the law should be struck down or repealed. These methods, though, place supporters in opposition to justice, not in defense of it.
Politico blurb, including lame excuse from King & Spalding
Paul Clement's resignation letter
HRC's effort to intimidate King & Spalding by smearing its reputation
American University, Georgetown Law preemptively welcome complaints against K&S recruiting on campus
*at least until he died, he did.