Gay groups have succeeded in getting a prominent law firm to withdraw from the pending "Defense of Marriage" lawsuit. Was this the right course of action or should the case be decided on the merits?

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    Apr 26, 2011 12:17 PM GMT
    "The law firm hired by Republicans in the House of Representatives to defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act withdrew Monday amid pressure from gay rights groups." NYT, 25 April 2011
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    Apr 26, 2011 2:22 PM GMT
    The lead attorney for the case at King and Spalding is taking the case to another law firm. It's not the end of the world. Law firms withdraw from representation for various reasons. The client will still be represented, albeit by another law firm (but the same lead lawyer), and there's no maninfest material prejudice to the client at this point.
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    Apr 26, 2011 2:34 PM GMT
    I wouldn't chalk this up to pressure from outside gay groups. I bet there was a huge amount of pressure from clients (corporate America is very focused on diversity) and internal pressure, too. If my firm had taken on that case - particularly in a manner that impinged on my freedom of speech (it was reported that other lawyers and employees were to be prohibited from advocating for the repeal of DOMA) - I would have been out the door in a heartbeat, I suspect along with a good number of other LGBT lawyers, and our straight allies would have been in an uproar. It probably sucks to be at K&S right about now.
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    Apr 26, 2011 9:50 PM GMT
    Agree with the above, and, to be fair, the choice posed in the thread title is a false one:
    [quote]Gay groups have succeeded in getting a prominent law firm to withdraw from the pending "Defense of Marriage" lawsuit. Was this the right course of action or should the case be decided on the merits?[/quote]

    The case will be decided on the merits no matter what, but there is nothing wrong with in pointing out that the "prominent law firm", which touts its GLBT diversity and also gagged its employees from advocating for the repeal of DOMA when it took this case, is making a profit on defending bigotry and in restricting its employees' personal advocacy. If the firm was so afraid of a few days of phone calls, then pointing it out would seem to be logical. It's not like we endangered the defense of the law in any way; we simply pointed out the hypocrisy and, well, reality of what the law firm was doing.