Defense of DOMA Remains in Good Hands

David S. Addington /

Former Solicitor General of the United States Paul D. Clement resigned his partnership at the King & Spalding law firm on April 25 in a selfless act of high honor and ethical principle. Americans should applaud his strong stand for the principle that lawyers must put the interests of their clients ahead of their own interests.

The law firm had decided to accept as a client the Bipartisan Leadership Group of the House of Representatives in its defense of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)—the Act that makes clear that the term “marriage” in a federal law means only “a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.” The firm had begun its representation of the client. Subsequently, the firm changed its mind and decided not to represent the client.

Disagreement by the law firm’s partners with DOMA’s definition of marriage would not provide a reason to dump the client. The professional rules governing attorney conduct in the District of Columbia make plain that “[a] lawyer’s representation of a client…does not constitute an endorsement of the client’s political, economic, social, or moral views or activities.” (more…)