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A supporter of the D.C. Council’s side in the lawsuit over District budget autonomy floated a counterintuitive theory to LL recently: that defendant Vince Gray actually wants to lose, since a defeat of the mayor’s more cautious approach to budget autonomy would mean more power for the city’s government.

Well, apparently Gray’s not that eager to lose. According to new documents filed by Gray’s side in federal court this week, Gray has retained former Bill Clinton-era Solicitor General Seth P. Waxman as his personal counsel in the case.

Unluckily for the backers of the budget autonomy vote, Waxman is no pushover. Besides being solicitor general, he successfully argued the Supreme Court case that gave habeas corpus rights to Guantanamo Bay inmates and was on the shortlist to replace Justice David Souter on the court. Always-enthusiastic business newsletter Bisnow calls him a “high court gunslinger.”

Waxman didn’t respond to LL’s request for comment, but District taxpayers shouldn’t worry about his billable hours. OAG spokesman Ted Gest tells LL that Waxman, like the Council’s outside attorneys, is working pro bono.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery