Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has a pretty consistently antagonistic record on LGBT issues. He insisted that VA’s universities could not protect gays and lesbians from discrimination, going so far as to say that homosexual acts are “a detriment to our culture.” More recently, he opposed allowing same-sex couples from being allowed to adopt, a position that influenced the State Board of Social Services to vote down the proposed provision.
This week, he’s now punishing law firm King & Spalding for backing out of its contract to defend the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act. Calling the firm weak and untrustworthy, he terminated the state’s relationship with the firm such that they are no longer on retainer to provide special counsel to the state:
King & Spalding’s willingness to drop a client, the U.S. House of Representatives, in connection with the lawsuit challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was such an obsequious act of weakness that I feel compelled to end your legal association with Virginia so that there is no chance that one of my legal clients will be put in the embarrassing and difficult situation like the client you walked away from, the House of Representatives. [...]
Virginia does not shy away from hiring outside counsel because they may have ongoing professional relationships with people or entities, or on behalf of causes that I, or my office, or Virginia as a whole may not support. But it is crucial for us to be able to trust and rely on the fact that our outside counsel will not desert Virginia due to pressure by an outside group or groups. [...]
Virginia seeks firms of committment, courage, strength and toughness, and unfortunately, what the world has learned of King & Spalding, is that your firm utterly lacks such qualities.
Cuccinelli conveniently ignores the fact that K&S’s contract with the House was not properly vetted and contained provisions that compromise the firm’s principles. Perhaps he thinks a “strong” firm is one that betrays its own employees and never revisits decisions that were made hastily and improperly, let alone correct them.