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By this point, Newman's life was getting a little surreal. She was still working on pronouncing all the Arab names she was learning. When she went to the gym after her first day of TV appearances, her spinning class greeted her with a round of applause. But she doesn't relish notoriety--"I didn't wake up one morning and say, 'Gee, I'm going to sue the President!'"--and she is intensely protective of her private life. As a lawyer, she has a natural antipathy to being interviewed--she likes to be the one asking the questions, thank you. She will not allow her husband or children to be named in the media. And she is terrified that her colleagues--or worse yet, Mukasey--will think she is grandstanding.
On June 26, the government counterpunched, filing a motion to dismiss Newman's petition. ("Notice there are 12 names on every one of their briefs, and just the two of us," Newman observes wryly. "The usual odds.") The prosecution attorneys, led by U.S. Attorney James B. Comey, argued that Newman can't name Bush and Rumsfeld as respondents, since they aren't technically Padilla's jailers, and that because Padilla is now being held in South Carolina, he is outside the New York court's jurisdiction. They even suggested that the President is legally untouchable: "A court of the United States," they wrote, "'has no jurisdiction...to enjoin the President in the performance of his official duties.'" While they were at it, they tried to take Newman out of the game, arguing that she lacks the authority to act on Padilla's behalf. In short, Newman was the wrong person, suing the wrong people, in the wrong place. "You can see where my sense of humor comes from," she says. "It's a little dry from doing this kind of work."
Newman and Patel were developing an enormously effective legal chemistry. They share a gluttonous appetite for work, and they make a natural good cop-bad cop team. "Our personalities fit together. He's the nice one," she admits. "I'm very aggressive. He calms me down." They worked out a division of labor, splitting up the petition into chunks according to who had expertise in what, swapping drafts and editing each other's work. "We've pulled some fairly close to all-nighters," says Patel. "Things where we say, 'We just have to do X, and we don't leave until X is done.'"
X was a 32-page reply to the government's motion to dismiss, defending Newman's status as Padilla's representative and her right to name President Bush--since he is the one who ordered Padilla put away, Newman and Patel argued, Bush is the only one who can set Padilla free. As for whether the court has power over the President, Newman and Patel argued that "to hold otherwise would be to recognize an imperial Presidency that our Constitution was designed to prevent." Newman added a charge of "forum shopping"--that the government had deliberately moved Padilla to a jurisdiction where he will face a tough judge. She pointed out that the government has now transferred all four of its major terrorism suspects--Padilla, Hamdi, Zacarias Moussaoui and John Walker Lindh--to prisons in the deeply conservative Fourth Circuit.