A comment to Kaili Joy Gray's excellent diary about Notre Dame's specious lawsuit against the United States for alleged infringement on religious liberty asked this question: Why is an AmLaw 100 law firm like Jones Day representing a non-indigent client like the University of Notre Dame pro bono (for free, for those non-lawyers out there) on what seems like a blatantly political lawsuit?
I don't have any special insight or knowledge about Jones Day's decision making, but these are publicly known facts about Jones Day and the legal team representing Notre Dame:
1. Antonin Scalia's first legal job was at Jones Day, from 1961 to 1967.
2. Jones Day defends the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland in its child abuse lawsuits.
3. Notre Dame's lead trial lawyer, Matt Kairis, is a 1988 graduate of Notre Dame, and is coincidentally a Harvard Law School classmate of President Obama (both class of 1991). Kairis counts among his notable experience his representation of electronic voting manufacturer Diebold Election Systems in an investigation of issues related to voting problems in Cuyahoga County (one of the Democratic strongholds in Ohio).
4. Another member of the Jones Day legal team for Notre Dame is Leon "Lee" DeJulius. DeJulius is a 1992 graduate of Notre Dame Law School, clerked for former Chief Justice Rehnquist, and is the Vice President of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Federalist Society.
(more under the fold)
5. The current managing partner of Jones Day is Steve Brogan, a 1977 Notre Dame Law grad, and a current member of Notre Dame's Board of Trustees. Brogan was a Deputy Assistant Attorney General during the Reagan Administration (1981-1983), where he worked in the Office of Legal Policy (OLP). OLP is responsible for developing high level policy initiatives within a presidential administration, is the primary policy advisor to the Attorney General, and advises and assists the President and the Attorney General on the selection and confirmation of federal judges, working closely with White House counsel in this regard. It is mildly interesting to note that in the public papers associated with John Roberts' confirmation as Chief Justice, there are memos back and forth from Brogan (in his role with OLP) and Roberts (in his role as Associate White House Counsel to the President).
While none of these connections are unusual in Washington DC or law firm circles (I'm not suggesting any grand conspiracy), I don't think that it is difficult to see how Jones Day came to be representing Notre Dame on what seems to me to be a blatantly political attack on the Obama Administration.
Please read Kaili Joy Gray's excellent diary about the Notre Dame lawsuit, which can be found here. Catholic bishops coordinate lawsuits against Obama administration over birth control mandate
10:53 AM PT: Huffington Post has reported that Jones Day is handling not only the Notre Dame case on a pro bono basis, but also all of the companion lawsuits filed on behalf of a number of Catholic dioceses. HuffPo bases this upon a public statement by Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik, whose diocese is among those suing the government, and who said the law firm Jones Day was handling the lawsuits pro bono nationally.