Holder, Kagan should have gotten the facts before defending Clement over DOMA defense

Remember how Attorney General Eric Holder, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elana Kagan all jumped to the defense of Paul Clement over the King & Spalding/DOMA controversy. Yes, they all know Clement is such an honorable man and the rest of us were just too mean. Well, people working in the Obama administration should have learned something from the Shirley Sherrod scandal. Get the facts first.

King & Spalding is telling its side of the story. And, Clement isn’t the hero after all. Seems the oh-so-honorable Clement did not follow his firm’s policy when he accepted the defense of DOMA. He apparently signed the contract to defend DOMA without informing the firm or following its procedures. The lawyers at King & Spalding didn’t even know about the contract for four days. They found out the same day we all did. From the Blog of the Legal Times (BLT):

Clement, a former U.S. solicitor general who headed King & Spalding’s appellate practice, signed a contract with the Office of the House General Counsel on April 14. He was hired to intervene in several court cases to defend the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, after President Barack Obama decided the Justice Department should not do so.

According to The Daily Report, the five-member King & Spalding committee that reviews new clients did not know about the contract until April 18, the same day the public found out. The committee began reviewing the representation on April 19 and rejected it the next day. As a result, Clement resigned from the firm and joined Washington boutique Bancroft, where he continues to represent the House.

Sollers had not previously responded to requests for comment. The firm’s only other official comment came on April 25 from Hays, who is based in the firm’s home office of Atlanta.

Citing unnamed sources, The Daily Report reports that there was adamant opposition to the DOMA litigation from within the firm. “King & Spalding is a corporate law firm — not a constitutional firm. This is not the kind of case the firm generally takes,” one source said.

Now, how could a lawyer as important and upright as Paul Clement be expected to do something as banal as follow the rules? The rules are made for little people, not the DC elite. And, why would we expect the Attorney General or Justice Kagan to have the facts before they spoke out. Please.

The defense of Kagan by the Villagers was predictable and typical. Of, course, the elites in Washington, including the Washington Post editorial board, jumped to Clement’s defense. The gays were obviously too mean to one of their own.

In reality, it appears Clement caused the problem for King & Spalding by violating the firm’s policies. That vetting process is in place to prevent these kinds of scandals.

But, Paul Clement is so, so honorable and upstanding. The Attorney General, the White House Press Secretary and Justice Kagan told us so. He just screwed over his entire law firm by breaking its rules and created a huge controversy that’s still reverberating. That’s all.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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