Fields: Defending GOP Anti-Gay Agenda Doesn’t Make Lawyer Atticus Finch

Guest Columnist

“Defending unpopular positions is what lawyers do.

Thus spoke Paul Clement who resigned as partner at King and Spaulding, a mega law firm out of Atlanta.

Clement was wrapping himself in the mantle of great civil rights attorneys, choosing to quit his high-paying job after the firm dropped its defense of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Passed in 1996, the DOMA is a homophobic law pushed by the Republican Congress and shamefully signed into law by Democrat Bill Clinton.

After losing at the trial level, the Obama Administration announced that it would not take an appeal.  The Republican House Speaker John Boehner stepped into the breach and threw aside concerns about cutting spending.

King and Spaulding took the case for The House.  Then they dropped it earlier this month prompting Clement to quit the firm in a huff.

So, is refusing to make big dollars defending DOMA a betrayal of lawyers such as John Adams, who represented the British soldiers in the Boston Massacre?  How about Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan, who faced off in the Scopes Monkey Trial?

Or Andrew Hamilton, who, though deathly ill, went to New York to defend newspaper publisher John Peter Zenger. It was 1736 and it took the guts for Zenger to attack New York’s corrupt British governor.

Make no bones about it, King and Spaulding’s decision was about the best interests of the firm.  The million dollar fee just did not match up to the downside of the homophobic reputation that would have followed.

History is on the side of gay rights.

It was not long ago that all gays wanted was not to be beaten by the cops.  Gay marriage was not even on the radar.

Today the country — particularly those under forty–widely supports gay rights including gay marriage.

A homophobic reputation was likely to make recruiting top young lawyers to King and Spaulding more difficult. And with businesses adding gays to their non-discrimination policies, it would have been used against them in business development.

All that said and done, Clement is no civil rights lawyer.

We are not talking about volunteering to take some unpopular cause of the downtrodden.

We are not talking about lawyers standing up to power.

We are not talking about some great principle of law such as protecting the First Amendment.

What we have here is a tax-funded homophobic right-wing Republican agenda promoted by the Speaker of the House.

Republican House Speaker Boehner is not a member of the poor, oppressed or downtrodden desperately needing a lawyer to plead his just cause.   He is not Martin Luther King, who needed lawyers to defend him against Alabama’s “vicious racists, with its Governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification.

Boehner is Ross Barnett and George Wallace rolled into one, using our money and power of the state to oppress a minority.

Paul Clement surely is not “To Kill A Mockingbird’s” hero Atticus Finch drafted to represent a wrongly accused black man in 1930’s Alabama. Unlike Finch, who was paid with bags of walnuts and potatoes, Clement will be paid $520-an-hour.

Not a bad pay check for a third-rate cause.

6 Responses to “Fields: Defending GOP Anti-Gay Agenda Doesn’t Make Lawyer Atticus Finch”

  1. Floridan says:

    Why the Republicans are spending money on the defense of this unjust and mean spirited law when they profess to be all about ending wasteful spending is beyond me.

    (Actually, it’s not . . . it’s just further proof that the GOP’s “too much government” argument is fraudulent. The social conservatives still call the shots.)

  2. Freedom says:

    The Defense of Marriage Act is a prime example of the federal government overreaching and trampling on an overwhelmingly state power. The Act should be declared unconstitutional.

  3. Duke says:

    I thought it was John Boehner.

    It is. Sam made a error. Better here than in court.

  4. FakeScottCowan says:

    Sam Fields for judge!!!
    We tried that once and it didn’t work.

  5. Double Standard Much? says:

    How’sabout the Democrats clsing ranks to protect racist School Board member Ann Murray instead of joining the growing chorus calling for her to resign?

  6. Yakisot says:

    One of the most disturbing things I”ve ever seen on TV is the Insider or TMZ (i forgot) showing angelina jolie’s daughter dressed like a boy and that was seen as the angelina jolie and brad pitt family as accepting her gender confusion….dear Lord how far will the gay agenda reach? So sad.