Michael Hamar

Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli Fires King & Spalding

Filed By Michael Hamar | April 30, 2011 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Marriage Equality
Tags: anti-gay bigotry, Attorney General, DOMA, Ken Cuccinelli, King & Spalding, Kool-Aid drinkers, The Family Foundation

You can always depend on Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli - or Kookinelli as he is less than affectionately referred to by Cooch3.jpgVirginians embarrassed by Cuccinelli's lunacy and ongoing generation of negative press for the state - to do two things: (1) take action and make moves to get his name in the press and (2) bash and denigrate LGBT citizens whenever possible.

Keeping with his past conduct, Kookinelli utilized the foolish missteps of Atlanta based law firm King & Spaulding and defense of DOMA to get his name in the press and send yet another message that LGBT citizens are not welcome and certainly will not be afforded civil law equality on his watch as Virginia Attorney General.

I'm sure Kookinelli's stunt played well with the coven of anti-modernity Christianists at The Family Foundation - Daddy Dobson's Virginia affiliate of Focus on the Family, which largely controls the Republican party of Virginia - even though rational and sentient Virginians are shaking their heads in dismay. Kookinelli talks about Virginia needing firms that are committed, yet it's Kookinelli, in my opinion (and that of many other Virginians), that needs to be committed - to a mental institution.

Both the Huffington Post and the Washington Examiner have highlights on Kookinelli's latest batshittery. First this from Huffington Post:

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) is terminating his office's relationship with law firm King & Spalding after the firm decided to drop its defense of the controversial Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) last week.

"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" Cuccinelli wrote to firm partner Joseph Lynch in a letter obtained by the Washington Examiner.

According to the letter, Cuccinelli said: "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, [sic] courage, strength and toughness, and unfortunately, what the world has learned of King & Spalding, is that your firm utterly lacks such qualities," he added, according to the Washington Examiner. He also said that the firm would not be able to reapply for special counsel status for the state of Virginia as long as he was attorney general.

The Washington Examiner adds these following highlights:

A copy of the letter was made available to The Washington Examiner. A request from the newspaper for a response has been emailed to [Joseph] Lynch [at King & Spaulding].

As Attorney General, Cuccinelli represents Virginia state agencies in court in the same attorney- client relationship as a private individual who retains a lawyer to represent him in a legal case.

The firm had been retained by the Virginia AG's office Sept. 15, 2009. Cuccinelli said the firm was being terminated "effective immediately."

It is noteworthy that the AG's office has only utilized King & Spaulding since 2009 so no long-standing relationship was ended and - having bid on AG office RFP's in the past myself while in a former law firm - in reality most state legal work has always gone to Richmond, Virginia, based mega firms that perennially under-bid other firms to keep their strangle hold on the state's legal business.

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Cuccinelli would like all gays back in the closet, and to resume the McCarthyism witch-hunts.

Uhhhh, Ken?
One lawyer to another, they can sue you for the contents of that Press Release....and they probably will....and they will win because, well, Ken, anyone foolish enough to release a statement like that cannot be that bright an advocate.

I have no idea why any self-respecting gay or lesbian would move to Virginia unless they really needed a job and it was too far to commute from Maryland or DC.

It is really hard to correlate the bizarreness of the current governor and AG (did you know that slaves and slavery had little to do with the Civil War?) with the state that produced Washington, Madison, Jefferson. (PS. For people used to living in civilization, no health insurance coverage even in private sector for domestic partners.)

John Gagon | May 1, 2011 9:33 AM

Absolutely cannot wait to leave this horrible state. I live in Frank Wolf's district. Talk about utter persecution here. Even the EEOC contractors in VA are hypocritical bigots. I was told I needed to be more tolerant of words like "faggot" in so many words....by a company that produces the software used by the EEOC to insure diversity and file cases. I'll name drop by request.

Tall Stacey | May 1, 2011 6:27 PM

Please correct me if I am in error, I am working from memory not transcript of an article seen elsewhere a few days ago. It was my understanding from reading the statement of King & Spalding that their declared reason for withdrawing from the matter was an unreasonable demand in the contract that all King & Spalding employees, including their homosexual ones, become party to and support the action, and to specifically refrain from speaking out in any way in opposition to DOMA. Now it would seem to me that such language is most probably not included in any current employee’s employment contract. As a business woman, my commitment to my employees and their contract of employment has to be of foremost import if I would expect to retain their services and/or avoid breach of contract actions.

As a prospective contractor of King & Spalding services it would seem to me that their skill at the bar is second to their integrity as a firm. From that perspective, regardless of my feelings on DOMA, I would have more respect for King & Spalding’s honoring their commitment to their own contracts, their own employees and their existing clients. By recusing themselves from this matter which is clearly in opposition to prior commitments, King and Spaulding have done not only the morally correct thing, but I believe is as demanded by conventional jurisprudence.

To the contrary, the Virginia Attorney General’s announcement of intent to violate their own contracts with King & Spalding does not reflect well upon them. To then gloat with the “as long as I am Attorney General” comment reflects an attitude of immaturity generally relegated to grade school “king of the mountain” games. Perhaps the gentleman would care to put his thumbs in his ears, wiggle his fingers, stick out his tongue and say “Nyah Nyah” as well.

As far as DOMA is concerned, and again regardless of ones position on marital privilege, I believe the question is as to the Constitutionality of the latter section which does specifically circumvent Article IV, Section 1 which states that: “Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State.” Clearly marriage of same-sex couples is a legal act in several states. Therefore those acts must be recognized by each and every other state of the nation. As a governing entity, I believe that the United States Government qualifies under the term State, and so must recognize the validity of those marriages as well. They are after all required to do so for all heterosexual marriages. To deny that requirement as DOMA does is clearly unconstitutional. Whether it is right, or whether it is wrong is not the question. The question is: is it constitutional.

In that “elsewhere” article I thought I had read that King & Spalding had a long history of pro bono work on behalf of our community. We can only hope they will be so involved in supporting our interests in this matter. Though their $500 per hour lead counsel may have deserted with the rats, we all know that this ship will prevail and DOMA will join DADT in the repository of discriminatory former legislation. May it happen sooner rather than later.

Equity and Justice for all!

John Rutledge | May 1, 2011 8:01 PM

I am embarrassed to be a native Virginian and I am looking forward to leaving this state and taking my business with me. In my travels it is often a source of bemusement and conversation to claim Virginia my native state, or rather to disclaim it. Kookinelli, the Lycnhburg gang, and so many more are an embarrassment to the commonwealth.

What we need to do is get the lists of all of the NRA's and the Commonwealth of Virginia's retained law firms and check to see if any of them have ever dropped a case or a client. If so, then we ask the NRA and Virginia why they haven't dropped those firms and expose the homophobia that motivates their current decisions.