Sunday, March 05, 2006

Bosma Hires Out-Of-State Firm To Defend Prayer Case

The Star’s “Behind Closed Doors” reports that House Speaker Brian Bosma has hired an out-of-state law firm to defend him in the lawsuit which seeks to prevent him from allowing Christian only prayers in the House of Representatives. Bosma’s office had earlier defended the cost of defending the suit, arguing that attorneys from the Attorney General’s office would be used. Now comes news that he has hired the Chicago-based firm of Winston & Strawn. The column writes:

House Republicans said they would vigorously defend a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana that led to a federal court's decision to ban official prayers containing the name Jesus.

Vigorously now means it's time to hire help from an 875-attorney firm.

House Republicans, under Speaker Brian C. Bosma's leadership, had pledged that their defense of the lawsuit wouldn't cost taxpayers because they are using lawyers
from the attorney general's office.

But four attorneys from the firm Winston & Strawn, which has offices in Washington and Chicago, have filed appearances, according to the federal docket.

Bosma’s Chief of Staff Leslie Hiner defended the hiring of an out-of-state firm saying “they needed [religious and First Amendment] expertise.” Advance Indiana wonders how that makes Jim Bopp feel. He is a noted conservative Republican attorney and first amendment expert who has argued cases before the U.S Supreme Court from Terre Haute. He is also the state party’s general counsel.

Winston & Strawn is currently defending former Illinois Republican Governor George Ryan, who is on trial for corruption and tax evasion charges. The firm has reportedly donated up to $10 million in pro bono services to Ryan after he initially paid the firm about $2 million for their services. The firm is managed by another former Illinois Governor, James R. Thompson.

Advance Indiana doubts the firm will be as generous with the taxpayers of Indiana as it has been with Gov. Ryan.

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