HRC Blog

U.S. Taxpayers Spending $520/Hour to Defend Discrimination

As we mentioned yesterday, the House Republican leadership is taking on former Republican Solicitor General Paul Clement as counsel to defend the clearly discriminatory and unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court.  Clement served under President George W. Bush as the government’s lawyer before the Supreme Court and currently works as a partner at the firm King & Spaulding.  Today we learned from the released contract that Clement and his firm will be paid $520 an hour to argue that they’re right to deny recognition to legally married couples.  The document caps the cost at $500,000 but can easily be increased upon further negotiations with the firm.

In other words, the Republicans in the house will be paying upwards of $500,000 in tax payer money to defend a law that most believe to be unconstitutional.  As we saw during the budget debate that almost shutdown the government, the House Republicans wish to leave no stone unturned in their quest to cut spending.  That is unless discriminating against the LGBT community is in the cards, in which case money is no issue.

There are currently at least nine cases challenging the constitutionality of section 3 of DOMA which bars federal recognition of marriages between same-sex couples.  If the House were to intervene in all nine that would mean less than 100 billable hours would be spent per case in order to hit the $500,000 cap.

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