Join Email List | About Us | AMERICAblog News
More about: DADT | DOMA | ENDA | Immigration | Marriage | 2012 Elections

Once again, not every cause deserves a lawyer

| Reddit | Tumblr | Digg | FARK

We shouldn't have to keep explaining the point that not every cause deserves a lawyer, but seeing that the mainstream editorial boards like the LA Times and the NY Times can't grasp it, we will try again. In the words of Kate Kendell:

Clement and his defenders argue that unpopular causes are entitled to representation. For example, the American Civil Liberties Union represented the Ku Klux Klan in the late 1970s when the KKK was denied a right to march in Skokie, Illinois. But any comparison between that case and Clement's defense of DOMA unravels immediately. In the Skokie case, the ACLU was defending the First Amendment. They rightly took the position that even a group as repellent as the KKK had a right to free speech. In this situation, there is no similar underlying principle or right at stake. No one would be bothered, for example, if an outdated Jim Crow law that had never been repealed were challenged in court and no lawyer was willing to defend that law. In order to justify the defense of a law, it must be possible to identify some principle that deserves to be vindicated, and here, there simply is none.

DOMA was passed in order to express moral disapproval of LGBT people. It does not embody conflicting principles that need a full-throated defense on both sides to produce a just and fair result. The sole purpose of DOMA is to discriminate against same-sex couples. It perpetuates harm against an underrepresented community and singles out certain families for unequal treatment from their government. No self-respecting lawyer or law firm should be willing to tarnish their reputation by defending such an appalling law. King and Spalding's decision to withdraw was a turning point in this struggle because it symbolized a shift in power between those who understand that simple truth and those who do not.

blog comments powered by Disqus