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The race to succeed R. Hewitt Pate as head of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division has expanded to at least six candidates, and while it’s not clear who’s in the lead, it’s fairly clear who’s in the running. Among those the White House has interviewed are two current deputy assistant attorneys general, a former Special Assistant to the Assistant Attorney General, a former Federal Trade Commission official and two private Washington law firm partners with no previous government experience, say people close to the candidates and the White House. Doyens of the antitrust bar are cautious about handicapping the race and spoiling anyone’s chances, but private speculation is rampant. The two in-house candidates are Thomas O. Barnett and Makan Delrahim. Before his selection as Pate’s deputy in March 2004, Barnett was a partner at Covington & Burling in Washington, where he focused on antitrust matters, according to a DOJ press statement. Before moving to the DOJ in July 2003, Delrahim worked for the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, the same panel responsible for vetting assistant attorney general nominees, and is widely known to have close ties to Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. That connection is expected to give Delrahim a leg up in terms of getting through the nomination process, though his background in intellectual property law might be less appealing than the antitrust expertise of some of the other candidates, some sources suggest. One of the two lawyers with government experience are Deborah Garza, a partner at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson who is chair of the congressionally created Antitrust Modernization Committee. Garza was a special assistant to the assistant attorney general in the Antitrust Division under Charles F. “Rick” Rule, whom President Reagan appointed. The other is J. Thomas Rosch, a partner in the litigation department at Latham & Watkins’ San Francisco office. Rosch was the director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the FTC from 1973 to 1975, and served as chairman of the American Bar Association’s Antitrust Section in 1990, according to the firm’s Web site. Finally, two Washington-based, private bar antitrust lawyers with Republican connections have also been interviewed. They are John DeQ Briggs and Phillip A. Proger. Briggs is a partner at Howrey, Simon, Arnold & White, where he began as an associate in 1973. He was chairman of the ABA’s Antitrust Section in 1995, and has extensive antitrust litigation experience across a range of industries, according to Howrey’s Web site. Proger leads the antitrust practice at Jones Day, where he is involved in mergers and antitrust litigation in a range of industries, including health care and various retail sectors. He was also chairman of the ABA’s antitrust section from 1998 to 1999, according to the Jones Day Web site. Pate has said he will step down by June 30, but it’s unclear when his successor will be installed. Much depends on the Senate’s dispute over judicial appointees and the filibuster rule. The Senate Judiciary Committee, whose work is at the heart of that debate, also handles nominees for assistant attorneys general. Copyright �2005 TDD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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