Only in Washington can logic get this twisted in an attempt to make everyone happy. Asked about the outcry over King & Spalding's hire to defend the Defense of Marriage Act and subsequent decision to drop the case, Attorney General Eric Holder told a group of reporters earlier this week that, "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. That criticism, I think, was very misplaced."
"It was something we dealt with here in the Department of Justice," Holder said. "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."
Asked about Holder's comments, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told the Washington Blade, "We do share Eric Holder's views on this. We think - as we said from the beginning when we talked about - when I did from this podium - about the decision no longer from the administration to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, that we would support efforts by Congress if they so chose to defend it. And so I have nothing to add to the attorney general's comments."
Let's just look at the fucked up logic behind this whole thing for a moment.
First, defending DOMA isn't nearly the same as defending criminals. That's why we have two different types of law - civil and criminal. Everyone has the right to a defense in a criminal trial, but there are plenty of folks who want to sue someone civilly who never find a lawyer to take the case.
That's because lawyers are allowed to pick and choose the cases they'd like to take in civil litigation.
Several folks have tried to make the argument that lawyers should take cases that they disagree with because if the attorney is professional, they'll argue the case on the merits without regard to their own personal feelings. These people usually cite the ACLU defending the rights of the Ku Klux Klan to rally. While this comparison is at least in the same legal sphere, again it's not the same at all.
The ACLU was defending rights enumerated in our basic founding documents - the right to peacefully assemble and the right of free speech. The only people being denied equal treatment in the DOMA case are LGBT couples who are being treated differently than same-sex couples. This comparison would be more apt if Clement believed homosexuality was a sin and LGBT couples didn't deserve the right to marry, but argued against the Defense of Marriage Act. He's not defending an unpopular client against governmental intrusion into their basic human rights - he's defending the United States government's ability to intrude into LGBT people's basic human rights.
Second, stop and think about that comparison for a moment. Defending a law that Holder himself has found unconstitutional and discriminatory to American citizens is equal to defending supposed terrorists who have been incarcerated for years without a trial. One is a noble pursuit of justice and fairness. The other is seeking to deny equality to a select group of people. Either way it goes, the far right wins; they don't like gays or brown people.
Third, while the administration seems to lay the blame for King & Spalding dropping the case at the feet of the LGBT community, in actuality it had more to do with their current clients and employees. Where is the castigation of Coca Cola, one of the firm's biggest clients, or the firm's employees?
Partners and associates were upset with the extremely restrictive contract Clement signed on the firm's behalf which mandated that employees not working on the DOMA case were prohibited from advocating for the law's demise. Coke called on the firm privately to drop the case because they didn't want to associate with a law firm defending anti-gay discrimination. Other Fortune 500 companies represented by King & Spalding also made their displeasure well known.
This administration is assholelushious; they just can't resist stepping in shit and then putting their foot squarely in their mouth.