The Corner

King & Spalding: Then and Now


Sometime after he’s sworn in as president, Barack Obama is expected to follow through on a campaign promise to close the controversial U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

It can’t come a moment too soon for King & Spalding LLP partners John Chandler and Beth Tanis, a husband-and-wife tandem who have represented six of the Guantanamo detainees since 2004. The two lawyers, who recently joined Atlanta’s second-largest law firm (as measured by Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2008-2009 Book of Lists) have spent countless pro bono hours on a cause they believe fundamentally erodes Americans’ basic rights.


Today, the law firm of King & Spalding announced — only 11 days after taking on the representation of the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group in its defense of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act — that it was dropping its representation because the vetting process had been “inadequate.” The move prompted the lead King & Spalding lawyer in the case, Paul Clement, to resign from his position at King & Spalding, according to a letter obtained by Politico’s Josh Gerstein.

In my own work defending life, religious liberty, and the family, I’ve often faced leading attorneys at major law firms. They defend ideas and actions that I sometimes find reprehensible, yet never once have I resented their representation decisions and have in fact enjoyed the challenge of responding to the best arguments the other side can offer. 

Arguments should be tested, not suppressed, and bravo to Paul Clement for representing the highest ideals of the legal profession.


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