I thought, for a while, about whether the title of this post was a bit too extreme. My subject is the pressure placed on King & Spalding to drop its representation of the House of Representatives with respect of the Defense of Marriage Act. Gay and lesbian activists pressured the firm in much the same way that the left pressured the local firm of Whyte & Hirshboeck when one of its associates served as local counsel on an amicus brief opposing a procedural challenge to the enactment of the Wisconsin Marriage Amendment.
Unfortunately, it's not too extreme. What happened here is shameful. In succumbing to this pressure, King & Spalding disgraced itself and harmed the profession. In choosing to pressure a law firm for the clients it keeps, the left has taken one more step from the rule of law, civility and an ethos of mutual respect.
There are good reasons to be careful about boycotting or pressuring lawyers for representing unpopular clients. The rule of law applies to the unpopular - even the despised - and one cannot enjoy the protection of the law without a lawyer to secure it.
That's why the title of this post is not extreme.