What made King & Spalding beat a cowardly retreat from their client, the House of Representatives, and abandon their defense of DOMA? According to TPMDC, the Left may not have scored a scalp after all, at least not directly. Brian Beutler reports that the law firm’s corporate clients objected to the decision to represent the defense, including the Atlanta firm’s most high-profile customer, Coca-Cola:
As public relations debacles go, this was a doozy. But the firm must have calculated that the alternative would have been worse. In the intervening week, a series of public and behind-the-scenes developments made it clear that the firm would suffer recriminations for defending what many of its top clients and future recruits — not to mention gay rights advocates — consider to be an anti-gay law.
Sources with knowledge of the backlash confirm that one of King & Spalding’s top clients, Coca Cola, also based in Atlanta, directly intervened to press the firm to extricate itself from the case.
A Coca Cola spokesman declined to comment on or off the record for this story, but pointed TPM to the company’s long public history of support for equality and diversity.
Yesterday, Glenn Reynolds made the point that K&S’s action means that they can now be held to account for their clientele, since they apparently have to pass political muster to hire K&S lawyers for their representation. Numerous commentators noted that said clientele included accused terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, several of whom K&S represent pro bono.
If TPMDC has this report correct, perhaps we can now add Coca-Cola to the list of entities that apparently approve of Gitmo terrorists. After all, it doesn’t appear that the soft-drink giant had any serious objections to that representation, pro bono or otherwise. They certainly don’t appear to have exercised a veto over that relationship the way that Coca-Cola and other K&S corporate clients did with the House of Representatives and the DOMA case. Are we not to conclude that Coca-Cola considers terrorist suspects at Gitmo more politically and morally acceptable than the legislative branch in defending a law that passed with wide bipartisan support and was signed into law by a Democratic President?
Maybe they can change their slogan to “Have a Coke and smile, but not an attorney.”