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October 5, 2011 Print

U.S. House Triples DOMA Defense Budget

by Karla Dial

Faced with seven lawsuits concerning the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) nationwide — and with the threat of many more on the horizon — the U.S. House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) yesterday approved a $1.5 million contract with former Solicitor General Paul Clement’s private law firm to defend the 15-year-old statute.

In April, BLAG inked a deal with Clement’s firm for about a third of that amount.

Though House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi blasted the move — calling it an “absolutely unconscionable” expense to “defend discrimination” when “Americans are hurting and job creation should be the top priority,” House Speaker John Boehner’s office said it only made sense: Had the Obama administration not elected to abandon the law in the face of its challenges, there would be no need to hire a private law firm to do the Department of Justice’s job.

“The cost of this litigation should and will be borne by the Department of Justice — which is shirking its responsibility to defend the law,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel told the National Law Journal.

Republicans plan to subtract the cost from the DOJ’s budget.

Writing in National Review Online’s “Bench Memos” section today, Ed Whelan put the legal costs in perspective: An attorney opposing Clement recently charged more than $1 million for a single U.S. Supreme Court proceeding.

Read about the Senate hearing to repeal DOMA held this summer.

Read Paul Clement’s brief defending DOMA.


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