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House To Spend $500K To Defend DOMA

Jim Burroway

April 20th, 2011

Paul Clement

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has announced that he has contracted with a law firm to defend the so-called Defense of Marriage Act in court, in response to the Obama Administration’s announcement that they consider DOMA’s defense as requiring heightened scrutiny. Former Bush Administration U.S. solicitor general Paul Clement was tapped to defend DOMA on behalf of the GOP-controlled House to the tune of $500,000, funds which Boehner says he will strip from the Justice Department’s budget.  Clement is a partner at the D.C.-based office for the firm King & Spalding where he manages the national appellate practice. Clement has argued more than 50 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Metro Weekly has looked into the contract Boehner signed with King & Spalding, which specifies the firm’s defense in Windsor v. United States.  That case was brought by Edith Windsor, the widow of Thea Spyer, who had to pay a $350,000 estate tax that she would not have had to pay had their Canadian marriage been recognized by the federal government. The contract sets a cap of $500,000 to defend DOMA in Windsor v. United States, but the contract has a provision which suggests that the cap can be raised. The contract does not authorize the hiring of outside experts without approval from the House. Metro Weekly noticed a non-discrimination clause in the contract:

It also is notable that the nondiscrimination clause in the contract states that King & Spalding “will not discriminate in its performance of this Agreement because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or any other prohibited basis.” Neither sexual orientation nor gender identity are included. This despite the fact that the firm clearly does include such categories in its own nondiscrimination policy.

DOMA is currently being challenged in at least twelve separate court cases around the country.



April 20th, 2011 | LINK

That $500k cap is going to be amended so fast no one will see it coming.

April 20th, 2011 | LINK

Can they really tap into government funds for a particular politcal agenda? What if the Senate wants to tap more of these same funds to have DOMA stricken from the face of the earth?

April 20th, 2011 | LINK

So much for cutting the deficit.

Timothy Kincaid
April 20th, 2011 | LINK


It’s a reallocation of funds from one agency to another. It has zero impact on the deficit.

Kevin F
April 20th, 2011 | LINK

Has either the Log Cabin Republicans or GOP proud issued a statement about this? Even though it is a drop in the bucket in terms of actual cash, this is one of the greatest symbolic slaps in the face I have experienced in quite some time.

enough already
April 20th, 2011 | LINK

Not being an American, I sometimes have to look these things up. I can’t find a reference to how they can transfer these funds without some level of Senate and Executive involvement.
Does anybody know for sure?

April 20th, 2011 | LINK

I don’t see what the problem is, Jim. After all, I read elsewhere that Clement is only charging half of his normal hourly rate. That’s discrimination at a discount! What a bah-gun! /sarc

Timothy Kincaid
April 21st, 2011 | LINK

Enough Already,

The Congress establishes the budget for various agencies. This move could be accomplished by simply reducing the budget of one and increasing the other.

enough already
April 21st, 2011 | LINK

Thank you, Timothy. Just, isn’t “Congress” here both Houses?

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