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Founded in 1983, the law firm Wiley Rein LLP , is defending its request for $2 million that is owed to Washington, DC firm from the federal government. U.S. District Judge John Bates will be deciding the case. He will determine whether Wiley Rein is entitled to the fees they are requesting before considering if it is or isn’t reasonable of the firm’s request for $2 million in legal fees and the $10,000 in litigation costs.

According to The Blog of Legal Times, The U.S. Department of Justice has opposed the fee request, and has also argued that Wiley Rein’s client, Shelby County, Ala., didn’t bring the type of claims that were covered under the voting rights law’s fee-shifting provision. Wiley Rein, located in the nation’s capital, then filed court papers on December 20 accusing the government of trying to re-litigate issues the U.S. Supreme Court had decided. Wiley Rein reported saying that the government’s position reflected a “fundamental misunderstanding.”


The Voting Rights Act permits legal fees for a party that sued to “enforce the voting guarantees of the fourteenth or fifteenth amendment.” Bert Rein, The firms partner wrote, “In arguing that Congress exceeded its authority under the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, Shelby County sued to enforce those sections of the Constitution.” He also rejected the government’s immunity argument, saying the federal Equal Access to Justice Act waived sovereign immunity, since the voting rights law included a fee-shifting provision and didn’t explicitly bar the government from paying fees. In the end, the Government ties itself in knots looking for ways in which it can avoid paying attorney’s fees under the rubric of sovereign immunity, Rein wrote.

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