Wiley Rein, the law firm representing Shelby County, Alabama before the Supreme Court in the case which effectively gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965, has submitted a bill for $2 million to the government claiming that under that same law they are entitled to be paid by the taxpayers since they won the case.
Talk about adding insult to injury! The firm who argued successfully to strip the law of one of its most important provisions, all the while claiming that they are actually defending the right of the people to vote, then turns around and ask the very people whose right to vote has placed in jeopardy by their actions to pay their fees!
Bert Rein, a founding partner in the firm and the lead counsel for Shelby County’s case, says that his firm took the case, “To protect the right of Shelby and its citizens’ right to put in place procedures it thinks will protect everyone’s right to vote.”
This is how he defends his request for payment from the government — he was simply protecting the right of the people to vote and the law allows him to bill the government for that service. Apparently, he is confused as to just which government it is that has a history of denying that right to certain people.
According to BLT, Blog of the Legal Times, the attorneys in the case said in their November 4th court filing that the request for fees, “appears to present novel legal issues.” The government will be joined by civil rights groups in opposing the request which will be first ruled on by U.S. District Court Judge John Bates who will make a determination as to whether the firm is entitled to the fees before deciding if the amount requested is reasonable.
Rein says that his firm charges rates in line with other firms and that their hourly rate for 2012 was $920 which he points out is less than the $1,250 charged by some partners at Dickstein Shapiro.
Within two weeks of the law being gutted in late June, several states in the South moved to put in place highly restrictive voting laws which they claim are not aimed at restricting non-whites from voting, but rather to keep Democrats from the polls. This shows the complete disconnect from the concept of fair play in those states since they seem to think that it is all right to admit to attempting to block members of a particular party from voting — as long as they don’t say that most of those people are black.
It is unbelievable that these attorneys feel that it is appropriate to ask the taxpayers to foot the bill for their work to deny people the right to vote. They truly don’t have any sense of decency! These lawyers were initially financed by wealthy Republicans anxious to again restrict the rights of those with a different political philosophy from voting. If they were not sufficiently compensated, it would seem that they should be billing their original clients — not We the People.