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I have something to reveal that I’ve held secret for two years now. Absolutely no one in the Bush administration has ever said a word to me about Valerie Plame. All right. There it is. It’s out. Fitzie, come and get me. (People who really know him call him Fitzie.) Haul me before that grand jury. I’ll bring bagels. You like that sun-dried-tomato cream cheese or should I just stick with the regular stuff? It was a strange year in Washington, when journalists appeared to be part of the world they’re supposed to cover from a distance. At times it was difficult to separate the role of the reporters in the leak investigation from that of the government officials. The affair pulled back the curtain to betray an intimacy that we in the press often defend as necessary to do our jobs, but it’s something that the public at large may find hypocritical or, even worse, somewhat sanctimonious. (That being said, some journos are closer to the flame than others. If I ever ran into Scooter Libby, cowboy hat or not, in Jackson Hole, Wyo., I’d first wonder what he was doing there. Then I’d wonder what I was doing there.) But the real star of the leak probe was the law. For months experts wrestled with whether violations of the heretofore obscure Intelligence Identities Protection Act or the sexier-sounding Espionage Act had occurred. Ultimately, Libby was indicted for allegedly doing something we all can understand: lying. But that’s the wonderful thing about the law — and about working at a publication like this one. Legal issues and lawyers inhabit the interstices of power in Washington. In 2005 that meant debating the definition of torture and, more recently, examining the limits of executive power in sanctioning spying on American citizens. All of which makes the role of judges in our legal system seemingly more charged than ever. If one story dominated more than any other at Legal Times in 2005, it was the hand-wringing, the threats (nuclear and otherwise), and the recriminations over our federal judges, from the Supreme Court on down. Our Year in Review issue attempts to make sense of these developments, with the understanding that more conflict is to come. After all, the Alito hearings begin next month. Fasten your seat belts, more turbulence ahead. — James Oliphant

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