Earlier this year, U.S. Supreme Court judges declared Michigan's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. The ban was enacted in 2004 and was subsequently challenged by April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse. Attorney General Bill Schuette opposed the challenge on theban,
and ultimately lost. The lawyers involved in the victory have recently filed paperwork seeking payment of their legal fees. If granted, taxpayers in Michigan could be on the hook for the nearly $2 million
legal bill. The AP reports that "under federal law, there seems to be no dispute that [the] lawyers...are entitled to payment from taxpayers".
There were six attorneys involved, who, "for all practical purposes" had to shut down their private practices to all other clients in order to adequately prepare for this particular case. Each attorney billed $350 per hour, with 3 of the attorneys working over 1,000 hours on this case. $350 is an incredibly modest hourly rate for a lawyer, especially for a litigation lawyer who is preparing a case to go to the Supreme Court. In addition, the lawyers involved are only seeking payment of their legal fees, even though they are also entitled to reimbursement of court costs, filing fees, and other similar expenses. The documents, which were filed on Saturday, called the case "novel, complex, and difficult". The case lasted 3 years and wound up going to trial.
Detroit Judge Bernard Friedman will review the paperwork filed on behalf of the lawyers before making a decision on the dollar value to be applied to legal fees. Schuette will have a chance to respond before Friedman's ruling on fees will be final.