Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lawyering Up

The Republicans were not happy when President Obama and the Justice Department announced in February that they would no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court. There was umbrage being taken all over the place in the halls of homophobia. So House Speaker John Boehner has decided that the House of Representatives will defend the indefensible… at the tune of over $500 an hour.

House Republicans plan to pay former Solicitor General Paul Clement and his legal team from King & Spaulding as much as $500,000 of taxpayer money to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) on behalf of House of Representatives, according to a document obtained by the Huffington Post.

“The General Counsel agrees to pay the Contractor for all contractual services rendered a sum not to exceed $500,000.00,” the Contract for Legal Services obtained by The Huffington Post says. The cap could be raised “by written agreement between the parties with the approval” of the House, the document states.

The hourly rate that King & Spaulding will be receiving is $520 per hour — which could actually be considered a deal. Some reports say that the firm’s top attorneys receive as much as $900 per hour.

So let me get this straight…so to speak. According to Mr. Boehner, the country is “broke,” but he’s willing to spend a half a million dollars to keep discrimination on the books?

Yes, I know that in the world of the U.S. budget, $500,000 is a rounding error. But I think in this case it’s more the principle than the money. These bigots are willing to go to this length just to keep on being bigots backed up by a law that in any objective sense is both unconstitutional in the letter and a mean-spirited and wicked assault on eqaulity. Even the most jaded and cynical among us realize that DOMA codifies gay-bashing at a federal level, and the majority of Americans believe that the time for marriage equality is now.

As for Mr. Boehner, at least he’s answered his own question, “Where are the jobs?” He’s providing them for high-priced lawyers.