Just a short public holiday-extended week after RollOnFriday reported on King & Spalding's politically-sensitive brief to defend the indefensible US Defense of Marriage Act the firm has - predictably - dropped the case.

To précis the story: DOMA prevents US-wide recognition of same-sex marriages, and was enacted in 1996. However, following many challenges, the Obama administration has decided to stop defending it. But Republican House speaker John Boehner considered that simply stopping fighting cases wasn't really a suitable way to let legislation slide, so hired Paul Clement of K&S to defend. On a phat $500,000 retainer.

There were immediately howls of protest from within the firm, especially when it was revealed that the engagement letter seemed to effectively ban any dissent both internally and externally. And - after a torrid few days of complaining from attorneys and clients - the rapid backslide came as no surprise. Cue much mealy-mouthedness, with firm chairman Robert Hayes apologising and stating that the pre-engagement vetting had been "inadequate". No sh*t.

    King & Spalding sticking to what they know best

Clement was pretty much hung out to dry and resigned in protest. So what now for the firm? Unfortunately, it looks like the attempt at distancing itself from the ugliness of defending DOMA will continue to have consequences. The Virginia Attorney General has removed his state's business from the firm, claiming to be disgusted at the "obsequious act of weakness". And the firm's long-standing client, the charming National Rifle Association, has done the same. Well you can't keep everyone happy all the time.
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