Glenn also mentioned Frederick Douglas's speech on Dred Scott Decision. Read that here
On TV tonight, Glenn will recognize Paul Clement as a modern day John Adams. Why?
Paul Clement’s former law firm, King & Spalding LLP, had been set to represent House Republicans as they defended the Defense of Marriage Act in court. However, when the firm dropped the case under pressure, Clement decided to drop the firm.
The Wall Street Journal reports, “Same-sex marriage is legal in five states and the District of Columbia. But under DOMA, the federal government doesn't recognize such marriages, so people married under the state laws don't enjoy benefits granted to couples by the federal government.”
When the Obama administration decided to deem the DOMA unconstitutional, House Speaker John Boehner picked Clement and King & Spaulding to represent sent them in their case. The WSJ reports, “Big law firms often handle politically sensitive matters but rarely face public criticism for it. House Democrats, gay and lesbian organizations and other advocacy groups attacked the firm for agreeing to defend the law.”
After receiving pressure from gay rights activists, the firm decided to drop the case, and Clement resigned. He has decided to take the case up with a different firm.
So why is he a modern day John Adams?
In tonight’s show Glenn focuses on courage, and he believes that by taking up the unpopular case Clement is demonstrating courage. It has nothing to do with his beliefs on gay marriage, but more the fact that when bullies come out one man stood alone.
In his resignation letter, Clement said, “To be clear, I take this step not because of strongly held views about this statute. My thoughts about the merits of DOMA are as irrelevant as my views about the dozens of federal statutes that I defended as Solicitor General.”
“I resign out of the firmly-held belief that a representation should not be abandoned because the client’s legal position is extremely unpopular in certain quarters. Defending unpopular positions is what lawyers do. The adversary system of justice depends on it, especially in cases where the passions run high,” Clement continued.
“I would have never undertaken this matter unless I believed I had the full backing of the firm.”
“But having undertaken the representation, I believe there is no honorable course for me but to complete it. If there were problems with the firm’s vetting process, we should fix the vetting process, not drop the representation.”
“As I searched for professional guidance on how to proceed, I found wisdom in the place you and I both would have expected to find it: from our former partner, Judge Griffin Bell, in a 2002 commencement speech to his alma mater, Mercer Law School. ‘You are not required to take every matter that is presented to you, but having assumed a representation, it becomes your duty to finish the representation. Sometimes you will make a bad bargain, but as professionals , you are still obligated to carry out the representation.’”
Read the entire letter here