Earlier this year the White House announced that they would cease to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), believing that it was, in fact, unconstitutional. That stirred up a frenzy of Fox News fury over the audacity of the President refusing to enforce the law of the land. Of course, that utterly dishonest characterization distorted the fact that the administration was only declining to defend constitutional challenges, but would continue to enforce the law.
Not to be appeased, last week, Speaker John Boehner’s office announced that House Republicans would hire their own attorney, for $520 per hour, to litigate the GOP’s support for DOMA. The attorney they hired was former Bush Solicitor General Paul Clement of King & Spaulding.
Now ThinkProgress is reporting that King & Spaulding has dropped the case and Clement has resigned from the firm. King & Spaulding released a statement saying that they “determined that the process used for vetting this engagement was inadequate.” However, speculation is that the firm, which has a strong track record with gay issues, acceded to complaints from gay advocates and concluded that this case was not consistent with its mission.
In the meantime, Clement announced that he would continue to represent Boehner’s pro-DOMA case with his new law firm Bancroft PLLC. Bancroft’s lead partner is Viet D. Dinh, a former high ranking official in the Bush Justice Department. More interesting is that Dinh is also a member of the Board of Directors of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., the parent company of Fox News. This raises the question as to how Fox News will cover this constitutional controversy.
Fox has already taken a radical position with contributor Newt Gingrich warning that Obama could be impeached, saying that “clearly it is a violation of his constitutional oath.” Anchor Megyn Kelly said much the same thing, and contributor Monica Crowley went further, portraying the President as a dictator: “That is Mubarak Obama. You can’t just pick and choose which law you’re gonna enforce.”
If this is what we have presently with Fox News aggressively asserting its opinion on the matter of equality, what can we expect going forward when the counsel for House Republicans is working for a member of the Board of Directors of News Corp? Clearly, the legal ethics at Fox News is no better than their journalistic ethics.