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FOR RELIGIOUS RIGHT ACTIVISTS, BAD NEWS IS GOOD NEWS In advocacy and special-interest politics, sometimes bad news is good for the cause. For the religious right, that came last week in the form of the gay-marriage ruling by Massachusetts’ highest court. In fact, social conservatives are now drawing energy from several high-profile battles � the Supreme Court’s ruling striking down state sodomy laws, the dispute over the public display of the Ten Commandments in Alabama’s Supreme Court, and the appeals court decision on the Pledge of Allegiance. Disdain for the judiciary is running at unprecedented levels. “All this is part of what I call judicial tyranny,” says Tom Minnery, policy vice president at Focus on the Family, a conservative Christian organization. “Judges have been finding new meanings in the Constitution that are totally unreadable in the words of the Constitution. It’s absurd, for example, to say that the Ten Commandments can’t be displayed in a public place.” Minnery says e-mail traffic from his group’s supporters to its leaders has increased by 50 percent since October, after the start of proceedings to oust Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore for disobeying a court order to remove the Ten Commandments monument from the courthouse. And Minnery says the Massachusetts case, in which the state’s Supreme Judicial Court ruled on Nov. 18 by a 4-3 margin that the right to marry must be extended to gay people under the Massachusetts constitution, will give his cause another boost. “This moves the [gay-marriage] issue to the front burner of social issues,” Minnery says. “At the White House or on the Hill, people didn’t feel there was a crisis. But now there is a crisis.” Jan LaRue, chief counsel of Concerned Women for America, says Massachusetts legislators “are being inundated with e-mails from around the country, 100 percent in favor” of overturning the court ruling. “This is like Lexington and Concord, the shot heard round the world,” says LaRue, whose group claims 500,000 members. “What the court has done is to awaken a sleeping giant. We had [the gay-rights decision] Lawrence v. Texas, and now we have Massachusetts.” Mathew Staver, president and general counsel of Liberty Counsel, a legal defense group favoring traditional religious values, says some conservative activists had been tuned out to the gay-marriage issue, until now. “In the movement, some had been tired of hearing about gay marriage and were actually annoyed by the debate,” he says. “But now they are forced to say, ‘It’s coming to my backyard.’ “ � Jonathan Groner IN THE MONEY Salaries for in-house lawyers in 2003 went up slightly, but bonuses declined, according to a survey of 330 law departments by consulting firm Altman Weil Inc. and the Association of Corporate Counsel. The national average salary for a chief legal officer was $278,500. Midlevel attorneys earned $162,800, and new law school graduates brought in $62,400. As for bonuses, senior attorneys averaged $20,200, down 12.2 percent, while deputy CLOs saw a 14.3 percent decrease, to $95,000, and division general counsel earned 16.2 percent less, collecting an average bonus of $70,700. Chief legal officers were a noteworthy exception. For these law department heads, bonuses averaged $179,000, up by 11.4 percent. In the D.C.-Baltimore metropolitan region, salaries for CLOs averaged $206,000, lagging behind the national average of $278,500, while the average bonus � $70,500 � was more than 60 percent below the national average. But salaries for nonmanaging attorneys in the region, averaging $111,000, were higher than the national standard of $99,000. � Christine Hines LYING LAWYERS Virginia lawyers may soon be permitted to lie � but only if it’s part of their job description. The state bar recently forwarded a legal ethics opinion to the Virginia Supreme Court seeking to amend the rules of professional conduct. The change would allow a federally employed lawyer to use deceptions such as alias identities and covert taping as part of lawful intelligence activities without “reflecting adversely on his fitness to practice law.” This may be especially welcome in spy agency-laden Northern Virginia. Alexandria’s Bernard DiMuro, past president of the state bar, notes that the opinion is the latest in a much-debated series of proposed exemptions to the dishonesty ban since the bar revamped its rules in 2000. He adds that the state high court often returns ethics opinions to the bar for “further tweaking.” � Siobhan Roth LARGE AND IN CHARGE Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s second executive order since taking office is causing a big commotion within the California employment bar. Plaintiffs attorneys are up in arms about the sudden vanishing of important legal resources from the state’s Web site while the new administration reviews various administrative regulations. “It seems a bit Orwellian to me,” says Steven Zieff, a plaintiffs attorney at Rudy, Exelrod & Zieff in San Francisco. “The idea that you would make it difficult for people to get information that is illuminating doesn’t seem to be the way to advance the interests of the labor code.” The move comes as a result of executive order S-2-03, which calls for a 180-day review of all government agency guidelines, manuals, and bulletins that have not been adopted through the state’s formal rule-making process. The review could result in changes to the state Division of Labor Standards Enforcement’s interpretations of existing law, which have been the basis of numerous class actions seeking compensation for things like meal breaks and travel time. � Alexei Oreskovic, The Recorder THE ROAD TO MONTGOMERY Yet another former Supreme Court law clerk is leaving a promising D.C. legal career for a stint as a state solicitor general. Covington & Burling D.C. associate Kevin Newsom starts working for Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor in mid-December. As a state solicitor, Newsom says, “you get a lot more stand-up time in court than you do as an associate” � though he hastens to add that Covington gave him a lot of appellate work. “I’ve been happy as a clam at Covington,” he says. Newsom, 31, was a 2000 law clerk for Justice David Souter and got his undergraduate degree from Samford University in Alabama. He replaces current Alabama SG Nate Forrester, a 1993 clerk for Justice Anthony Kennedy. Forrester is returning to private practice in Alabama and D.C. “This has been an extraordinary job. I’m having trouble letting go,” he says. With all these comings and goings, what about Pryor himself? Pryor, who prosecuted state Chief Justice Roy Moore on ethical charges in the recent Ten Commandments controversy, was nominated last April by President George W. Bush to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. Pryor has been blocked ever since by Senate Democrats, and his chances of confirmation are fading. If he doesn’t don robes, Pryor could stay on as state AG until 2006. � Tony Mauro MASTER PLAN Legal matters in Alabama are on the mind of another former Supreme Court law clerk in the District, too. The Supreme Court on Nov. 17 appointed George Washington University School of Law professor Bradford Clark to be special master in the case of Alabama v. North Carolina, No. 132, on its original docket. The case stems from North Carolina’s failure to build a regional facility for low-level radioactive waste. Alabama and other states in the Southeast Compact, represented by Carter Phillips of Sidley Austin Brown & Wood, are seeking monetary sanctions against North Carolina. Clark, a one-time clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia who teaches civil procedure and constitutional law, declined comment on the prestigious appointment. Clark is the second GWU faculty member named as special master by the high court in recent years. Gregory Maggs is in his third year as special master in Alaska v. United States, No. 128. � Tony Mauro CHERRY PICKING IN NOVA Arnold & Porter has beefed up its litigation practice in Northern Virginia with the addition of three litigators from the McLean office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. Partner Douglas Lobel joined Arnold & Porter’s 25-lawyer McLean office with associates David Vogel and John Henault Jr. on Nov. 15. “I thought it was a terrific opportunity to head up a litigation group in a branch office of one of the really terrific national litigation firms,” says Lobel, who says the group plans to expand via more lateral hires. From Morgan, Lewis, he says he brings clients including the E*Trade Financial Corp., Qwest Communications, and Reston-based Teleglobe Communications Corp. “This litigation team is an ideal fit, both in expanding the capabilities of our Northern Virginia office and in further strengthening our extensive litigation practice,” says Arnold & Porter chairman Michael Sohn. � Marie Beaudette VICTORY LAP Nancy Victory, former head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, has returned to Wiley Rein & Fielding as a partner. Victory served as the top telecommunications adviser to President George W. Bush and headed the 300-person agency that develops domestic and international telecommunications policy for the administration. Before taking the government job in 2001, Victory was a partner at Wiley Rein. She had been at the firm for 12 years. “We are all delighted to have her back,” says Richard Wiley, the firm’s managing partner. Victory, who resigned from the NTIA in July, came under fire after telecommunications lobbyists said they had sponsored a $3,000 party in Victory’s honor at her home just 10 days before she recommended policy changes to the Federal Communications Commission that would benefit their industry. Commerce Department investigators found she committed three ethics violations, but the Justice Department declined to pursue the matter further. � Marie Beaudette PATENTLY ILLEGAL A Virginia jury has ordered the Microsoft Corp. to pay $62.3 million in compensatory damages after concluding Nov. 14 that the software giant willfully infringed a software patent owned by Imagexpo LLC. The Arlington-based subsidiary of the SPX Corp. was represented by a Howrey Simon Arnold & White team led by partner Alan Fisch. “We’re obviously pleased with the outcome, and we’re looking forward to the hearing on February 11 and 12,” says Fisch. At that time, Judge Henry Hudson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia will announce whether Microsoft should pay treble damages for its actions. Microsoft is represented by James Roberts of Troutman Sanders. A spokeswoman says the company is disappointed by the verdict and believes its technology does not infringe the patent. � Christine Hines

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