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TENSIONS BUILD OVER ‘NUCLEAR OPTION’ With the nuclear option apparently heading for detonation after the May recess � at least according to the latest conventional wisdom � the subject continued to flare in Washington last week. Several hundred demonstrators rallied against the measure, a controversial parliamentary maneuver that would eliminate Democratic filibusters of judicial nominees, and petitions with more than a million signatures opposing the move were deposited in the Capitol offices of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist(R-Tenn.) and Democratic leader Harry Reidof Nevada. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter(R-Pa.) was forced to postpone a markup aimed at voting out at least one nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, former Senate Legal Counsel Thomas Griffith, after the 18-member panel failed to reach its 10-member quorum. Miffed Republicans noted that while eight of the committee’s 10 Republicans showed up, not a single Democrat made an appearance. And although four of the panel’s eight Democrats were at Pope John Paul II’s funeral, “many of the Democrats were not in Rome, but they’re still not here,” groused Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.). Democrats, in a bit of circular logic, say they were told there wouldn’t be a quorum in the first place, since committee member Mike DeWine(R-Ohio) was also at the funeral. “It’s curious,” says one cynical GOP Judiciary staffer, noting, “But why be helpful if you can?” � T.R. Goldman OFFICE SPACE Winston & Strawn‘s new K Street office may be a bit more glamorous than its longtime home at 14th and L streets, N.W., but the Chicago-based firm’s move last week shook more than dust from the carpets. According to several partners in the office, every aspect of the move � from the location, to office selection, to the furniture � was orchestrated by Chicago headquarters. “It’s a Chicago firm, and no one is ever allowed to forget it,” says one partner. One of the key complaints was the new office arrangement, which scattered 10 practice groups across different floors, separating partners from each other and, in some cases, from their secretaries. Says another partner: “It certainly makes it much more difficult for certain groups to work together.” Office managing partner Thomas Millssays he was not taking directives from Chicago and says he only consulted partners at the home base to formulate the new floor plan. Where, then, would the grumbling be coming from? Says Mills: “It befuddles me.” � Emma Schwartz SEX SCANDAL Holland & Knighthas had a difficult two weeks. On March 29, an article in the St. Petersburg Timesrevealed that Tampa partner Douglas Wright, the firm’s chief operating officer, had been promoted to the firm’s No. 3 position just months after an internal committee had concluded that he’d violated the firm’s sexual harassment policy. The article, based largely on documents leaked to the newspaper from someone within the firm, detailed how Wright had allegedly exhibited a pattern of tyrannizing young women at the office � including repeatedly urging one woman to feel his thigh. Within days, Wright had stepped down in a move described as voluntary. In D.C., office executive partner La Fonte Nesbittsays the episode has not hurt morale in the local office or led to questions about the firm’s Tampa leadership. “I think there’s a misimpression about the firm created by what’s been in the papers,” he says. As for Wright’s behavior? “I don’t know that I would characterize it as sexual harassment,” Nesbitt says. � Jason McLure FAST TRACK The case of alleged enemy combatant Jose PadillaU.S. Supreme Court� roughly a year earlier than expected. Padilla is a U.S. citizen who was arrested on a material witness warrant as he arrived in Chicago from Pakistan in May 2002, and he has been imprisoned ever since. When his challenge to his detention went to the Supreme Court last year in Rumsfeld v. Padilla, the Court did not decide the merits, but ruled that it had been filed in the wrong place against the wrong person, and should have been directed instead against his official custodian at the Navy brig in South Carolina. Padilla’s lawyers did just that and won a victory in February in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina. The government appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. Now Padilla’s lawyers are asking the high court to take up the case quickly, without that intermediate step. Padilla’s brief invokes wartime disputes in which the Court also granted review before appeals courts ruled. “The Court through history has shown an eagerness to resolve such issues quickly,” says Jonathan Freimanof Wiggin and Danain New Haven, Conn., who is part of Padilla’s legal team. Richard Sampof the Washington Legal Foundation, which supported the Bush administration in the earlier Padilla case, agrees that the high court might expedite review. “The government might have liked having the 4th Circuit rule, but it may not be all that averse to getting it to the Supreme Court now,” says Samp. � Tony Mauro TEXAS TWO-STEP Although Texas Democrats may still be lamenting the Lone Star State’s congressional redistricting last year, the political maneuver has turned into a boon for D.C. law firm Arnold & Porter. Former Texas Democratic Rep. Jim Turner, who decided not to seek re-election after the redistricting, has joined Arnold & Porter’s approximately 30-member lobbying shop along with his former chief of staff, Elizabeth Hurley-Burks. Turner is A&P’s first former member of Congress. The former member of the Homeland Security and the Armed Services committees says he wants to use his experience on the Hill to work with homeland security- and defense-related clients as well as boost the firm’s representation of Texas-based companies. “I think it does give you a chance to stay involved with some of the issues you committed your energy to as a member,” he says. � Emma Schwartz PARIS IN THE SPRING Howrey Simon Arnold & White‘s managing partner says he’s a bit rusty when it comes to speaking French, but Robert Ruyakis about to brush up on the language for his trip to officially open the firm’s new Paris office. The new outpost � set to launch on May 1 � comes from the firm’s acquisition of the five-attorney intellectual property boutique Cabinet Coust� & Coust�, headed by name partner Marina Coust�. “It’s really exciting for us to bring her on board,” Ruyak says. Howrey hopes that the expansion will boost the firm’s biotechnology and high-tech specialties. The Paris office is the firm’s fourth in Europe; Howrey first set up shop in London in 2001. In other firm news, last week Howrey added trademark specialists Alan Cooper and Eric Fingerhutfrom Shaw Pittman as partners. � Emma Schwartz DIPLOMATIC CORPS There’s no mansion, no undercover agents, and no hosting European royalty, but Robert Kimmitt, former ambassador to Germany during President George H.W. Bush’s administration, still sees parallels between that job and his new one as part-time counsel at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr. “As an ambassador, you spend every waking moment trying to figure out how to advance your country’s interests,” he says. “I think a lawyer should bring that same kind of passion and dedication.” Kimmitt, who had left the firm as a partner in 2000, will split his time between Wilmer’s new public policy practice and an international advisory council at Time Warner Inc. Also joining Kimmitt in the new practice group are Republican stalwarts Edward Tobin, most recently executive director of the Republican Governors Association, and Reginald Brown, a former special assistant and associate White House counsel to the current administration. � Jason McLure UNION JACK A cadre of union organizers picketed Steptoe & Johnson‘s D.C. office last week and handed out leaflets decrying a subcontractor doing work on the firm’s Northwest Connecticut Avenue space. The Mid-Atlantic Regional Council of Carpenters‘ problem: that Beltsville, Md.-based Tricon Construction Inc.doesn’t pay the union wage of $27.32 per hour, says Dennis Meyers, the union’s district manager. “It affects our contractors,” Meyers says. “They can’t compete.” But the union didn’t quite do all of its homework. Steptoe & Johnson doesn’t have a contract with either the construction company � HITT Contracting Inc. � or Tricon. Although the renovation is being done on Steptoe’s offices, firm managing partner Roger Warinsays the deal is part of the firm’s lease agreement and was arranged by building owner Boston Properties Inc.“We’re kind of stuck in the middle of someone else’s fight,” Warin says. Either way, Tricon President Roger Quicksays he’s still unclear what the fuss is about, noting that his employees are well compensated through the company’s employee stock ownership plan. “It’s not a good company for the union to target,” Quick says. � Emma Schwartz

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