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Major Players in FCC/AT&T Drama Well-Suited for Their Roles

August 30, 1987

Dennis R. Patrick, 36, spent his early childhood in Eagle Rock and moved at age 8 with his family to Huntington Beach, where he developed a continuing love for surfing. A 1973 honors graduate of Occidental College, he received a law degree from UCLA in 1976.

Patrick's link with Ronald Reagan and the Republican Party began when he was studying law and serving as a clerk to William P. Clark, then a Reagan appointee to the California Supreme Court.

After getting his degree, Patrick joined the Los Angeles law firm of Adams, Duque & Hazeltine, where former President Richard M. Nixon once worked. In 1981, Patrick went to Washington to join the Reagan Administration as associate director for presidential personnel with responsibility for the regulatory agencies, including the Federal Communications Commission. In December, 1983, President Reagan chose Patrick for a seat on the FCC.

Last Feb. 5, he was named by the President to succeed 45-year-old Mark S. Fowler, a one-time broadcaster, as FCC chairman. Patrick became the youngest person ever to head the agency.

Serving as chairman at the will of the President, Patrick acknowledges that he could be removed from that job as soon as Jan. 20, 1989, when Reagan leaves office. His term for one of the five commission seats, however, extends until June 30, 1992.

Patrick says he doesn't differ much in philosophy from Fowler--both favor deregulation and reliance on market forces. Patrick's personal style, however, is much more low-key, and he appears more willing than Fowler to consider opposing views.

Under Patrick's leadership, however, the FCC outraged many in Congress by revoking the Fairness Doctrine requiring broadcasters to air opposing views on controversial issues. It also proposed a new approach to limiting long-distance telephone rates described as the most far-reaching change in telecommunications regulation in 25 years.

A bachelor, Patrick is known for working long hours, often including Saturdays.

Patrick's colleagues on the commission are James H. Quello, Mimi Weyforth Dawson and Patricia Diaz Dennis. There is one vacancy--created by Fowler's departure--but Reagan has given no indication of when he intends to fill it.

Born on Feb. 6, 1923, as Heinz Grunhaus in the town of Frankfurt an der Oder, which now is part of East Germany, Harold Herman Greene became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1944. According to Current Biography Yearbook, Greene's family left Germany in 1939, settling elsewhere in Europe before coming to the United States in 1943.

Greene later enlisted in the Army, subsequently serving as a military intelligence specialist in Allied-occupied Germany until his discharge as a staff sergeant in 1948. Settling in Washington, where his parents had opened a jewelry shop, he attended George Washington University at night while earning his living as a translator for the Justice Department. He graduated at the top of his class in 1949, earned a law degree from the same institution three years later and embarked on his legal career as an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.

In 1957, Greene joined the Justice Department. He eventually headed the department's civil rights division, which Congress had established to enforce existing civil rights measures and to prepare comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation. Greene is credited with being a principal author of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965 appointed Greene an associate judge of the old District of Columbia Court of General Sessions. Johnson elevated him to chief judge 16 months later, a post in which he won recognition for reforms that, among other things, halved the time between arrest and trial in criminal cases.

Greene moved to the federal bench in 1978, when President Jimmy Carter named him to succeed U.S. District Judge John J. Sirica, the Watergate judge. Within days, Greene inherited the American Telephone & Telegraph antitrust lawsuit.

A non-jury trial on the AT&T litigation finally began on Jan. 14, 1981, and nearly a year later the litigants announced an agreement. After much negotiation and numerous legal challenges--including an attempt to remove the settlement agreement from Greene's court--the judge on Aug. 11, 1982, delivered a 178-page opinion modifying and approving the basic settlement. The decree set the terms under which AT&T shed its 22 operating subsidiaries, effective Jan. 1, 1984, and dictated how the independent parts were to operate. It also called for a re-examination of those terms after three years, which Greene is carrying out. A decision is expected this fall.

Greene still reportedly spends more than a third of his time on the case and related issues, assisted by a bare-bones staff of a law clerk and occasional interns.

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