The attempt at intimidation was reminiscent of the misguided Republicans who in 2010 questioned the allegiances of current Justice Department lawyers who previously represented Guantanamo detainees while in private practice -- as no less a lawyer than the attorney general himself noted this week.
"The people who criticized our people here at the Justice Department were wrong then, as are people who criticized Paul Clement," Eric Holder told reporters. "Paul Clement is a great lawyer. He has done a lot of really great things for this nation. In taking on representing Congress in connection with DOMA, I think he was doing that which lawyers do when we are at our best. . . . Those who were critical of him for taking that representation -- that criticism is very misplaced."
There was, however, one crucial distinction between the bullying campaign against the liberal lawyers who'd represented detainees and the attempts by gay rights activists to frighten King & Spalding: The intimidation campaign against King & Spalding worked. The firm quickly caved in to pressure, with King & Spalding managing partner Robert D. Hays mumbling only something vaguely coherent about the firm's "vetting process." In his pointed letter of resignation, Clement replied that if there were problems with the vetting, the firm should fix its process, not ditch their client.
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