Paul Clement, Solicitor General in the George W. Bush administration, is one of the top appellate lawyers in the country. He and his partner Erin Murphy have been with the large Chicago-based law firm Kirkland & Ellis since 2016. Last week, Clement and Murphy won one of the biggest victories of their careers when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in favor of their client the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, holding that New York State’s discriminatory firearms carry law violated the Second Amendment.
Big wins in the Supreme Court are normally occasions for celebration, but not this time. The Wall Street Journal explains:
The firm has rewarded partner Paul Clement for his triumph Thursday in the big New York gun-rights case…by telling him to drop his gun clients or leave the firm.
As Mr. Clement and his litigation partner, Erin Murphy, explain nearby, they’re leaving the firm rather than dump their clients. That’s the honorable and ethical decision.
I represented my old law firm in ethics matters for 17 years. We never would have dropped a client for political reasons. But that was then, and this is now.
[T]hese days gun-rights advocates are unpopular in the tony precincts of Los Angeles and New York where Kirkland represents business clients. When it comes to core constitutional rights versus corporate retainers that finance summer homes in the Hamptons, the Constitution is a second-class citizen.
This is the opposite of ethical legal representation. Clients who are unpopular are the most in need of legal counsel. Lawyers drop clients who lie or don’t pay their bills. But Mr. Clement’s gun clients are individuals and state gun groups, such as the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, which won its case at the High Court on Thursday. Kirkland is dumping clients who have done nothing wrong and have cases currently in litigation.
It’s not as though Clement and Murphy were representing clients who had flimsy or somehow spurious cases. On the contrary, as last week’s ruling showed.
Kirkland & Ellis’s firing of their firearms-related clients is one more sign of the takeover of our political, corporate and cultural institutions by the Left.
Kirkland’s invertebrate abdication illustrates how progressive ideology dominates the commanding heights of American law, business and culture.
Sad but true. As the Journal points out, this isn’t the first time that Clement had to leave a major law firm because his practice didn’t align with leftist pieties:
In 2011 King & Spalding dropped the U.S. House of Representatives after the House had retained Mr. Clement to defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.
Contemplate that for a moment: the United States House of Representatives was too hot a client for King & Spalding to represent, because a statute that passed and was signed into law was unpopular on the Left.
Still, it must be frustrating to be a leftist: they control just about every institution in our society, the universities, public elementary and secondary education, the entertainment industry, big business and the major law firms, the press, the arts world, the foundations, the federal bureaucracy–the list goes on and on. And yet the American people stubbornly resist leftism.