King & Spalding withdraws from DOMA defense; attorney Paul Clement joins new firm

Paul Clement

King & Spalding, the law firm that agreed to defend the Defense of Marriage Act on behalf of House Republican leaders, has withdrawn from the case. And the Washington-based partner who had signed on as lead counsel in the DOMA defense, Paul Clement, resigned from King & Spalding today.

The Atlanta-based law firm agreed to take the case for a fee of more than $500,000 to be paid by taxpayers. House Republican leaders took on the job of defending DOMA after President Barack Obama announced that the Justice Department would no longer do so.

In his resignation letter, Clement said he plans to continue as counsel in the case with another law firm, Bancroft PLLC. Clement is a former solicitor general and served in the George W. Bush administration. Bancroft was founded by a former Bush assistant attorney general.

Clement said in his resignation letter that he did not have strongly held views about DOMA but that “representation should not be abandoned because the client’s legal position is extremely unpopular in certain quarters.”

—  David Taffet