The Corbett administration is getting some outside help to defend Pennsylvania’s marriage law in federal court.
William Lamb, a former state Supreme Court justice, has been picked to join the administration’s defense team, at a rate of $400 an hour.
Associates with his West Chester firm, Lamb McErlane, will be hired at a rate of $325 an hour.
The governor’s Office of General Counsel doesn’t have a cap on funding as far as hiring outside lawyers, according to spokesman Nils Hagen Frederiksen.
“Outside counsel in most cases for us is driven by cases. We can’t control … cases that come through the door. We don’t have a fixed amount for outside counsel,” he said. “We’re doing our best to reduce the amount for outside counsel year in and year out.”
Lamb’s firm reportedly gave tens of thousands of dollars to Tom Corbett political campaigns going back to his time as a state attorney general candidate. Hagen Frederiksen said political donations are not considered in the hiring of outside counsel.
“The only factors that weigh into when and if a firm, any firm, is retained by the Office of General Counsel is what’s in the best interests of a particular case,” he said. “There are no other considerations asked for, there are no other considerations given.”
The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit in July against the law defining marriage as between one man and one woman.
It is separate from a lawsuit over marriage licenses being issued to same-sex couples by a Montgomery County court official.
The Corbett administration is handling the ACLU suit after Attorney General Kathleen Kane said she wouldn’t.
The state must file its legal response to the federal suit by Sept. 16.