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January 23, 2009 12:21 PM

Litigator of the Week: Gregory Craig, White House Counsel

Posted by Ed Shanahan

By Andrew Longstreth, The Am Law Litigation Daily

Gregcraig-thumb-200x307 We could see the lawsuit coming as soon as we watched Chief Justice John Roberts botch his lines in administering the oath of office to President Barack Obama on Tuesday afternoon. Remembering the many (ridiculous) challenges we saw to the citizenship of Obama and Senator John McCain during the presidential campaign, we envisioned a highly motivated and slightly delusional plaintiff questioning the legitimacy of Obama's presidency based on an imperfect recitation of the presidential oath.

Thanks to the thoroughness (and, no doubt, campaign experience) of our Litigator of the Week, we assume the country will be spared the nonsense. White House counsel Gregory Craig, a former Williams & Connolly partner, was among the aides who suggested to President Obama that he retake the oath on his first day in office. "We believe the oath of office was administered effectively and that the president was sworn in appropriately [on Tuesday]," said Craig, according to The New York Times. "But the oath appears in the Constitution itself, and out of an abundance of caution, because there was one word out of sequence, Chief Justice Roberts administered the oath a second time."

It's been a busy week for Craig, who briefed lawmakers about executive orders signed by President Obama that will close the Guantánamo Bay detention camp within a year, shut down secret overseas prisons run by the CIA, and ban certain aggressive interrogation techniques. He's also been reviewing regulations that were issued during the final days of the Bush administration to determine if any should be reversed. In his few scant days on the job, Craig seems to be fulfilling his duties with all the professionalism we'd expect from a Williams & Connolly litigator who weathered the Clinton impeachment defense. But here's something that surprised us in a recent New York Times profile: The 63-year old Craig is buddies with Karl Rove!

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