HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania General Counsel James D. Schultz today announced the retention of former state Supreme Court Justice William H. Lamb to assist with the constitutional defense of Pennsylvania's Marriage Law.
"Legal arguments concerning the constitutionality of any state law are a pressing matter for the commonwealth, along with all concerned parties, and it is important that these cases receive a comprehensive defense," Schultz said. "Justice Lamb and his firm bring a unique set of legal experience and skills to this case."
Lamb, chairman of the law firm of Lamb McErlane PC of West Chester, also noted the special nature of this case.
"We look forward to offering our insights to this serious constitutional question," Lamb said. "We are honored to once again have the opportunity to serve the commonwealth."
Lamb has a history of bipartisan service to the commonwealth, Schultz noted. He was nominated to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court by Governor Mark Schweiker and then approved by Governor Edward Rendell to fill that position following confirmation by the state Senate. Lamb was the first justice to serve from Chester County in 147 years, an achievement recognized in 2003 when the Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry named him Citizen of the Year.
Lamb also served as District Attorney in Chester County from 1972 to 1980 after serving as Assistant District Attorney in Chester County from 1967 to 1972. Additionally, he served as a special prosecutor for Chester County from 1981 to 1984, receiving two Awards of Merit from the Pennsylvania State Police. He is recognized as a top 100 Pennsylvania Super Lawyer for appellate law and a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer since 2005.
Schultz said the unique circumstances of this case compelled the Office of General Counsel to retain expert assistance in this case.
"The Office of General Counsel provides comprehensive legal services to numerous state agencies and executives, but we do not typically defend cases that solely challenge the constitutionality of a statute," Schultz said. "Who better than a former Supreme Court Justice and his firm to assist in addressing this type of fundamental question?"
Schultz said that the Office of Attorney General, which normally handles this type of constitutional challenge, has refused to defend the commonwealth in this case. In July 2013, Attorney General Kathleen Kane stated, "It is in the best interest of the Commonwealth to authorize the Office of General Counsel to defend the state in litigation."
Schultz and Lamb emphasized that the team that has been tasked with defense of the state's Marriage Law while respecting the interests and dignity of all the parties involved in this case.
"Our mission is to present a thorough legal argument in the hope that a definitive ruling from the court will bring clarity to this issue," Schultz said.
Attorneys from the Office of General Counsel and the Pennsylvania Department of Health are also involved in this case. A legal response on behalf of the commonwealth is due Sept. 16, in federal court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
Nils Hagen-Frederiksen, Office of General Counsel, 717-346-4463
SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of General Counsel