Most nights a line snakes out the door at Lauriol Plaza, the trendy Mexican restaurant on 18th Street in Dupont Circle that draws a cross section of the Washington, D.C., cognoscenti, many of whom come as much to make the scene as to sample the cuisine.

On one such evening about two years ago, James Brochin, a New York lawyer, was waiting to be seated with a few buddies from Yale Law School, including Brett Kavanaugh, staff secretary for President George W. Bush.

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