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    January 26, 2009  

For those of you interested in environmental issues, we're proud to announce our next Bisnow Breakfast & Schmoozarama, with the CEO and Founding Chairman of the US Green Building Council, Rick Fedrizzi. BLT restaurant in DC, Thursday, Feb 12, sign up!


Cliff Sloane is something of the DC bar's jack of all trades—he's served as a Supreme Court clerk (to Justice Stevens), General Counsel to Washingtonpost/Newsweek Interactive, publisher of Slate, and, beginning last year, partner at Skadden Arps. Barely settled at 1440 New York Ave., he's already adding another title to his cv: Author. The Great Decision, his non-fiction tale of the drama behind Marbury v. Madison, is due from Public Affairs in March.


Why Marbury? Cliff says the public barely knows about the Court's most important case—which, he notes, sits as a treasured document in the National Archives alongside the Magna Carta, Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. Cliff, who co-authored with Senate aide (and Harvard College roommate) David McKean, spent long days starting in '05 at area historical societies and the Library of Congress, pouring over documents like the original diary of NY's Federalist Senator Gouveneur Morris.


There's plenty of drama in Jefferson's attempt to block Adam's last-minute Federalist court-packing scheme, and when it opens in 1801 nobody even knows who's President (Jefferson and Burr tied in the electoral college). But we liked it best for the colorful style—our Con Law professor never called Marbury "a triple bank shot by Marshall that enhanced the Court's power and prestige." But don't trust us (not that you do); it gets a glowing write up in Kirkus, blurbs from historian Ken Burns and Harvard's Larry Tribe, and is a main selection of the History Book Club. Cliff already has dates with Charlie Rose and Stephen Colbert on his calendar, but wisely chose to make a splash in Bisnow first. (Amazon link.)

Meet the New Partners: WilmerHale

Friday afternoon we gathered the newly announced partners at WilmerHale in DC: securities pro Matt Holmwood, Jeannie Rhee, and litigators Tonya Robinson and Brian Boynton (also in the appellate/Supreme Court group). The four have six clerkships among them. Jeannie's a former AUSA in DC, now specializing in criminal defense, and is working a criminal environmental trial in Montana with Wilmer heavyweight Howard Shapiro (chair of litigation and former GC to the FBI). She had to spend a night at Dulles last week to fly out for a hearing on Inauguration day.

AU Examines Military Commissions

On Friday, just after President Obama suspended military commissions at Guantanamo for 120 days, AU Law held a perfectly timed confab on "Military Commission Practice and Jurisprudence." We caught up with Eugene Fidell (visiting lecturer at Yale and president of the AU-affiliated National Institute of Military Justice, which gained official observer status at Guantanamo in October) and NIMJ Director Michelle Lindo McCluer. Eugene says the four month freeze makes this a time to take stock of the commissions, the ground rules for which are laid out in the 2006 Military Commissions Act. At Yale, he's taught both military justice and Native American law: "I guess I'm still playing cavalry and Indians."


We dropped in on a morning session, where Lt. Comm. Arthur Gaston of the Office of Military Commissions—with civilian defense counsel Adam Thurshwell and moderator Prof. Stephen Vladeck looking on—suggested that military commissions aren't as novel as some might think. He noted that eight co-conspirators of John Wilkes Booth (including the famous Dr. Mudd, who planned a wide attack on multiple government officials) were tried and convicted before military commissions.

John Ford, Bisnow's Legal Editor, is slowly regaining consciousness after Inauguration festivities. Send Alka-Seltzer and story ideas to john@bisnow.com.

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