Bryan Fischer displays his complete ignorance of legal matters by writing a column demanding that every lawyer who works for the Department of Justice be disbarred for refusing to defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act in court. Cue the outrage:
Attorneys have a moral, ethical, legal and constitutional obligation to give their clients the best representation they have to offer. Failure to provide competent counsel is grounds for appeal for a client who loses, and even for a new trial in death penalty cases.
Now were an attorney not only to stop representing a client who had retained his services, but suddenly and abruptly to begin working to undermine his client’s case, working openly for his client’s legal adversaries, working actively against his own client, he’d be disbarred so fast it’d give you a nosebleed.
Such a staggering and jaw dropping breach of moral and ethical obligation would literally be unprecedented in the annals of jurisprudence. No attorney could survive if he committed such egregious misconduct. What client could ever trust him again? What reputable law firm would ever hire him again?…
Now when a duly enacted law comes under legal assault, it is the sworn duty of the Department of Justice to defend that law. That’s its job. That’s what we are paying its lawyers to do. They work for us, the American people, to defend our interests in court…
This is freakish at best and scandalously reprehensible at worst. Disbarment of the whole lot is not too much to ask, for betraying every judicial canon known to man and for violating the sacred oath they took to uphold the Constitution and see that the laws of the land be faithfully executed.
Except, of course, that it isn’t unprecedented at all. In fact, President Reagan did it three times. In 1982, Bob Jones University had its tax exempt status stripped by the IRS and BJU filed suit. Not only did the Reagan DOJ refuse to defend the decision, they filed a brief on behalf of the university. ZOMG! Arrest Ed Meese!
DOJ attorneys do not have a lawyer-client relationship with either the American people or Congress, they are an executive agency that represents the occupant of the White House. And while it’s traditional that they defend the constitutionality of the law, it certainly isn’t unprecedented that the president decides not to do so. If Fischer wasn’t a braindead zealot, he would know that.