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Republican political operative Jeff Roe will soon be looking for new digs.Lathrop & Gage, the law firm that houses his consulting firm, Axiom Strategies, is terminating his sublease.Lathrop said it was doing so because it determined that it no longer needed Roe's second-floor space.The move, coincidental or not, comes as politicos allied with Roe, including Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt, heat up their attacks on "activist judges." That may not sit well with Lathrop, which boasts several former bar presidents and other legal eminences among its members.

Earlier this year, Roe told lawyers at a Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association conference that "there will be negative campaigns against judges in 2008. That is reality."

Lathrop simply said that it no longer needed the space it leased to Roe and that it had given its landlord and Roe notice of its intent to terminate the lease.

Roe last week said his lease runs until March or April and he'd been dealing directly with the building's owner, an out-of-town outfit. He said he originally signed a two-year lease.

Roe said he hopes to remain in the space by negotiating directly with the landlord but plans to remain there in any event until the sublease expires.

The space houses nine employees, according to Roe, who has his own 20- by 25-foot glassed-in corner office. He said he had two other offices in the area but declined to disclose their locations.

Blunt's sister, Amy Blunt, works in Lathrop's government relations department. Like other large and influential law firms, Lathrop boasts both heavyweight Democrats and Republicans on its roster, including Jack Craft (Republican) and Harold Fridkin (Democrat) in its Kansas City office.

KSU case is 'moot'

A constitutional challenge to the removal in 2004 of the adviser to Kansas State University's newspaper was ruled moot last week by a federal court.

Katie Lane, the former editor in chief of the Collegian, and Sarah Rice, its former managing editor, sued over the removal of Ron Johnson as the paper's adviser, supposedly because of the subpar quality of the newspaper's news coverage.

The move occurred after a controversy erupted on campus over the extent of minority news coverage in the newspaper and its failure to cover the Big XII Conference on Black Student Government held in Manhattan in 2004. Lane and Rice claimed that Johnson's removal was triggered by the controversy and chilled the exercise of their First Amendment rights.

The trial court dismissed the case, finding that the First Amendment claim failed because the decision to remove Johnson was based on the quality of the Collegian, not its content. On appeal, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the trial court's decision, ruling that because Lane and Rice have since graduated, their claims were moot.

An exception to the mootness doctrine — where there's a reasonable expectation that the same complaining parties will be subjected to the same actions again — was found inapplicable.

"Because only KSU students serve as editors of the Collegian, there is no reasonable expectation that Lane and Rice will be subjected, post-graduation, to censorship by defendants in connection with this newspaper," the court stated.



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