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President Bush on Tuesday nominated Jones Day partner Deborah Majoras to replace Timothy J. Muris as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission. The nomination is being packaged with that of Jon Leibowitz, a former Senate Judiciary aide who is Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle’s choice to replace Mozelle Thompson for one of two seats reserved for the party that does not control the White House. Majoras rejoined Jones Day in January after spending nearly three years at the Justice Department antitrust division, including the last year as the principal deputy assistant attorney general. At one point, she was the deputy in charge of every civil antitrust matters, including all merger investigations. Majoras declined comment. Whether Majoras and Leibowitz can be confirmed in a presidential election year is unclear. Majoras coordinated the Justice Department’s prosecution of Microsoft Corp. and oversaw the settlement process. Settling that case short of a breakup of the software giant remains a controversial decision, and it is likely to be brought up during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee. The White House clearly hopes to overcome any opposition by packaging her nomination with that of Leibowitz, who is a lobbyist at the Motion Picture Association. He previously served as a top aide to Sen. Herb Kohl, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee. Senate Democrats must decide whether it would be worth derailing the Leibowitz confirmation proceedings to politicize the Majoras confirmation. Sources said it should be clear within the next two weeks whether the strategy will work and the two candidates will be confirmed. The White House is unlikely to make Majoras a recess appointment, sources said, even though that would let her fill the job for a year. Congress is expected to begin its next recess on May 21. Muris is expected to remain FTC chairman until Majoras is confirmed, though it was unclear Tuesday if he would stay through the election if the Senate refuses to act on the nominations. Majoras is a well-respected antitrust lawyer. She nearly became assistant attorney general for antitrust in 2002 when Charles James unexpectedly resigned. She lost the job to fellow deputy R. Hewitt Pate, who named her as his principal deputy. From that post, she oversaw much of the merger enforcement program including the investigation of First Data Corp.’s acquisition of Concord EFS Inc. and Oracle Corp.’s hostile tender for PeopleSoft Inc. Both investigations led to merger challenges. Majoras also supervised the investigation of Univision’s acquisition of Hispanic Broadcasting Corp., a deal which won antitrust clearance after the company agreed to divest much of it stake in a rival provider of Spanish-language radio programming. Majoras is a 1989 graduate of the University of Virginia law school and received her B.A. in 1985 from Westminster College Nominations to the FTC late in a president’s term are not uncommon. The Senate confirmed Thomas B. Leary in November 1999 to fill a Republican seat on the commission. That was a year before George Bush defeated Al Gore to replace Bill Clinton as president. Copyright �2004 TDD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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