The NYT penned a curious editorial today that seems to, yet again, confuse the notions of “every person deserves representation” and “every piece of legislation.” Let’s walk through the Times’ editorial:
King & Spalding had no ethical or moral obligation to take the case, but in having done so, it was obliged to stay with its clients, to resist political pressure from the left that it feared would hurt its business
Nice assertion. But why should we believe the assertion is true? The client got the firm to include an appalling clause that violated the free speech rights of every person working at the firm, even those not working on the case. Why is it the Times didn’t even bother mentioning this? Seems they’re not terribly interested in the constitutional rights of innocents, only the oppressors. Or maybe mentioning the contract clause would undermine the point the Times wanted to make in this editorial? Why let a central fact of the case interfere with your pre-ordained conclusion, eh?
Not to mention, Paul Clement, the case’s lawyer, didn’t drop the case at all. He moved to another firm. So in fact, the case never lost its counsel.
2. It’s interesting that the Times claims a law firm can never drop a client – and mind you, the client was dropped a whopping couple of days after it was picked up – yet the Times is fine with the Obama administration dropping its client (the law itself) in this case.
That did not mean the administration was required to defend the law, and it was right to decide to stop. But that is separate from the law firm’s action.
It’s not separate simply because you simply claim it’s separate, Mary. What’s your rationale? Why is it okay for the USG to defend its client, then bow to political pressure and drop the case, but it’s wrong for King & Spalding to do the same? (Even though, as already stated, King & Spalding had other reasons for dropping the case: the noxious contract provision; an employee uproar; and upset clients.) Or, once again, was it terribly inconvenient for the Times, so they just wipe out the actual fact pattern with a wave of the hand?
Justice is best served when everyone whose case is being decided by a court is represented by able counsel.
DOMA is not everyone, it’s not a person, it’s a law. And the House of Representatives has dozens of lawyers on staff who are quite adept at arguing this case.
4. And this is my favorite part of the editorial:
About twice every three terms, the justices hear a case in which one side is abandoned by a party in the lower courts. The court appoints counsel for that unpopular side, and he argues for the client as best he can.
Oh, so it’s not at out of the ordinary for someone to drop a case. And in fact, in the DOMA case the firm only dropped the case a few days after it picked it up, so little damage was done. In the cases the NYT is citing, the case was dropped after it already went a few rounds in court. Clearly that’s more damaging than just a few days. But as the Times proves by its own citation, even the Supreme Court was fine with those cases being dropped, and simply appointed a lawyer. Problem solved, no denial of counsel, no justice not being served. Why can’t the same be done here?