How Can You Defend These People?

I’ve watched with interest the news regarding former Solicitor General Paul Clement’s resignation from King & Spalding, after the firm moved to withdraw from its representation of House Republicans in defense of the federal statute that prohibits same sex marriage.

Every criminal defense lawyer should learn as much as possible about this story and save it up for your next cocktail party where there are a bunch of non-lawyers or prosecutors in attendance.

The next time someone asks you the typical questions that criminal defense lawyers get about how you can defend someone charged with ____ (fill in heinous crime) or asks you how you can defend someone you know to be guilty, you can cite the inquisitive person to this chapter of Paul Clement’s career. A lawyer’s duty sometimes means defending rapists, murderers, and even House Republicans.

I wonder if those who pressured for K&S to withdraw from this case would support law and order types if they brought similar pressure to bear upon a law firm to withdraw from the appeal of a criminally accused or convicted. There’s lots of irony to go around in this story.

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