NOM Commends Former Solicitor General Paul Clement for Show of Integrity in Defending DOMA


Group says firm of King & Spalding displayed shocking lack of ethics

WASHINGTON - The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today praised former Solicitor General Paul Clement for refusing to be muscled out of defending the Congressional enactment of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and criticized his former firm, King & Spalding, for lacking the integrity to represent a position they consider to be unpopular. Clement today resigned from King & Spalding when their Chairman, Robert D. Hays announced the firm was withdrawing from the case within days of an announced protest of the firm by gay marriage activists.

“Paul Clement has just demonstrated the truth of what many have known about him for years – he is a man of courage who subscribes to the highest standards of professional ethics and integrity,” said Brian Brown, president of NOM. “Mr. Clement has demonstrated what every ethical lawyer should know, that a law enacted by Congress and signed by the President is entitled to a vigorous defense in our nation’s courts. As Mr. Clement wrote in his letter of resignation from King & Spalding, once a representation has been accepted, the ethical lawyer is duty-bound to continue even in the face of protests by a loud minority.”

Brown contrasted Clement’s courageous stand for integrity with the cowardice of King & Spalding Chairman Robert Hays. “In contrast to the principled stand by Paul Clement, King & Spalding, through their Chairman Robert Hays, has demonstrated a shocking lack of professional ethics and shown cowardice under fire. This law firm has shown itself to be without principle,” Brown said. “Representing clients who may be unpopular in some quarters is what lawyers do. The actions of King & Spalding would suggest that they believe an accused murderer is entitled to a vigorous defense, but the thousands-year old understanding of marriage is not, even though our marriage law was passed with overwhelming bi-partisan majorities and signed into law by President Clinton.”

NOM pledged an investigation into the actions of King & Spalding and urged its supporters to contact Hays to express their outrage over the firm’s decision. “We will convene a panel of legal experts and ethicists to determine if any rules of professional conduct have been violated, or if the firm has acted illegally in reaching their decision. We already know they have violated the moral imperative of acting in good faith and fair dealing. If our review concludes that the firm has violated any statutes or rules of professional conduct, we will initiate the appropriate disciplinary complaints,” Brown said.

Robert Hays can be reached by supporters at, 404-572-4674.

To schedule an interview with Brian Brown, President of NOM, or Maggie Gallagher, Chairman of the Board of NOM, please contact Mary Beth Hutchins, at 703-683-5004 ext. 105.


  1. Vast Variety
    Posted April 25, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    You know it's kind of funny how NOM defends the right of Christians to act by their conscious in discriminating against LGBT folks, but when a law firm acts to defend it's long term practice of supporting LGBT folks by pulling out of defending the unconstitutional DOMA law then it's considered a crime or a lack of ethics.

  2. Mike P.
    Posted April 25, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Vast Variety- if K&S was so interested in 'defending their long term pratice of supporting LGBT folks' then why did they agree to take the case in the first place? Did the law change in a week? they knuckled under thuggish political pressure. Once you take a case you stick with it. I know lawyers who have been sent death threats for defending murderers, but these lawyers stand on principle and defend these individuals. K&S is part of a left-wing legal elite that is increasingly out-of-touch with the country (and, of course, it's own state of GA, which voted 76% for ordinary marriage). This legal elite is the only place where ordinary marriage proponents are "marginalized."

  3. Dwane
    Posted April 25, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    I am willing to BET a year of forced conversion therapy on myself .... that after the court case he will be back at his old post --- WINK WINK NOD NOD...

  4. John Noe
    Posted April 25, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    I commend the actions of Mr. Paul Clement, this is the type of leadership that the country needs. At the same time shame on the firm for their being cowards. A little pressure from a small but vocal minority and off they go throwing away the ethics of laws.
    The part that gets me is unpopular decision. Unpopular to whom. Only unpopular to the vocal minority. DOMA as well as real marriage is popular to the majority. We are undefeated in elections. The homosexual activists use this thuggery and using clever legal tricks because they cannot win fair and square in our democracy.

  5. Vast Variety
    Posted April 25, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Apparently Mike P. it's only "thuggish political pressure" if it comes from marriage equality advocates, where when NOM does the exact same thing its defending religious freedom.

  6. OneOfTheWatchers
    Posted April 25, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    It is quite telling how a law firm would back out of this. Perhaps, it's because of the futility in defending a section of the law that is unconstitutional?

  7. Mike P.
    Posted April 25, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Vast Variety- when has NOM done that, exactly?

    OneofTheWatchers- you need to understand something about lawyers. The law culture has been dominated by lefties going back several decades. If they thought the law was unconstitutional, they would have never taken the case on in the first place. They were forced to cave to political pressure in a way only lawyers would. Of course, the left-wing legal elite is out of touch with the population, especially in GA, where 76% of voters affirmed ordinary marriage.

  8. catholicdad
    Posted April 25, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    I believe man and moment have met in the person of Paul Clement.

    This man walked away- without the slightest hesitation- from partnership in a leading national law firm, rather than compromise his principles.

    I do believe it is fair to assume that DOMA will now have benefit of the very finest defense obtainable.

    May God richly bless Paul Clements.

  9. TC Matthews
    Posted April 25, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    I'm glad to see someone stand up in defense of marriage against the blatant intimidation being employed. We will not be silenced. Thank you Mr. Clement, for your integrity.

  10. Anna
    Posted April 25, 2011 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    "Perhaps, it's because of the futility in defending a section of the law that is unconstitutional?"

    Hmmm, has the SCOTUS ruled the DOMA is unconstitutional?
    As I understand it, that *is* the issue being decided in this case.

  11. Ken
    Posted April 25, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    "Representing clients who may be unpopular in some quarters is what lawyers do. The actions of King & Spalding would suggest that they believe an accused murderer is entitled to a vigorous defense"

    Can we all have a reality check here? First, this is a civil case not a criminal one so comparing this situation to a murderer being denied representation is beyond ridiculous. Firms are not obligated to take every case that comes knocking in the door. The vetting process may have been handled poorly here but it is not unethical to decline cases that conflict with a firm's values or those of their clients or that put unreasonable burdens on the firm's employees. In this case, the speech of all employees would have been suppressed as they'd be barred from advocating for gay rights - even in their private lives. 

  12. Don
    Posted April 25, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Permalink


    You, of course, misrepresent. This is a case of a law which was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton, not a civil dispute over a dry cleaning bill.

    What is at stake here is whether or not Obama can stop the defense of a law simpy because he, as President, in his subjective opinion, thinks portions of the law to be unconstitutional. Such determinations, especially in the case of national law, should be left to the courts and, most probably, to SCOTUS.

    What makes this case even more important is that Obama has tried and is continuing to try to do an end run around the SCOTUS "Citizens United" decision. First by seeking to pass the DISCLOSE Act, which failed, and now through the use of executive orders.

    So what we see is a situation in which Obama has sought to overrule both Congress and the SCOTUS. Defending DOMA is to defend the separation of powers. That ain't a civil suit over a dry cleaning bill!

  13. Don
    Posted April 25, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Permalink


    Was not a contract entered into by the law firm?

  14. Mike P.
    Posted April 26, 2011 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    Ken- if they had all of these moral qualms about taking the case, then why did they take the case? They were intimidated by groups which exert an outsized influence among the left-wing legal elite. We know that they do not exert a strong influence in GA, because 76% of voters affirmed traditional marriage there.

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