The "Elizabeth Morgan bill," which cleared a final Senate hurdle in the early morning hours yesterday, completed its sweep through Congress at a speed reserved normally for wartime or economic emergency. "We're on a fast track," said Mark J. Robertson, a legislative aide to Rep. Stan Parris (R-Va.). "It's been hand-walked through the process. It's hot, meaning get it done, expedited." It was a measure of the bill's extraordinary handling that by the time the Senate gave its unanimous consent, shortly after midnight, the final language had already been printed on parchment and the three required congressional signatories -- House Speaker Thomas S. Foley (D-Wash.), Senate President Pro Tem Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) and the clerk of the House -- were standing by. Yesterday morning the bill was whisked to the White House, and plans were laid to fly it to President Bush's vacation home in Maine. Marked throughout by ironic alliances, the bill's progress was propelled by an unlikely trio of powerful men: Watergate conspirator turned born-again Christian Charles W. Colson, Texas billionaire H. Ross Perot, and former Democratic national chairman Robert Strauss. Yesterday the bill appeared to bring Morgan to the brink of release after 25 months in the D.C. Jail. Congressional sources said they have been assured that Bush will sign the bill into law today, despite Justice Department reservations. Morgan's attorneys were poised to file an emergency request for her freedom within minutes of the president's signature. The new law is tailored so narrowly to Morgan's case that it is unlikely to become relevant to any other. And its juggernaut pace through Congress depended on treatment accorded few bills of any kind in recent memory. Morgan, 41, was jailed in August 1987 after defying an order by D.C. Superior Court Judge Herbert B. Dixon Jr. to send her daughter, Hilary, now 7, on an unsupervised visit with Eric A. Foretich, Hilary's father. The two were in a bitter child custody dispute that attracted international attention and has become the most voluminous and expensive in District history. Morgan, who dissolved her marriage to Foretich shortly before Hilary was born, accused him of sexually abusing their daughter almost from infancy. Foretich, who strongly denied the accusations, contends that his former wife is insane. Neither has seen Hilary since Morgan sent her underground. The extraordinary battle -- in the courtroom and in the broader public forums they have sought -- shows no sign of waning, whether Morgan is in jail or out. "This may be the end of a certain phase," Foretich said, "but it's not going to be an end." After all the legal maneuvering -- 49 motions, 15 appeals, and four full oral arguments before the District's highest court -- the critical break in Morgan's bid for freedom had nothing to do with any court of law. That break was an unremarkable meeting with a Christian minister named Al Lawrence, who runs the Washington-area chapter of Prison Fellowship Ministries. Lawrence visited the D.C. surgeon in jail and drew her case to the attention of Colson, who launched the national ministry after his own release from prison in January 1975. Colson devoted a column in the March issue of "Jubilee," his newsletter, to a sympathetic treatment of Morgan's case. One of his readers was Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.), who represents Colson's district. "Wolf is on our mailing list, received that, read Colson's column, and was really moved to do something," said James Jewell, Colson's executive assistant. Within weeks, Wolf had introduced H.R. 2136, a bill to limit incarceration for civil contempt of court. Colson mounted an aggressive campaign of letters, telephone calls and radio appearances. Much of his support came from like-minded Christians and conservative allies, such as Sen. William L. Armstrong (R-Colo.). But the bill was soon embraced by feminist groups that normally have little use for Colson. "The case has produced remarkable bedfellows," Jewell said. "We don't join Molly Yard and the National Organization for Women on many cases." Meanwhile, Strauss was widely reported to be calling in chits on Morgan's behalf. And Alice Monroe and Glennie Rohelier built the Friends of Elizabeth Morgan into a grass-roots movement with 15,000 members. They sent thousands of letters to reporters, Congress, the president and Judge Dixon. In May the New York Times Magazine ran a long account of Morgan's case, and again a flattering portrait won a powerful new ally for the jailed surgeon. This time the reader was H. Ross Perot, the maverick Texas billionaire. To Perot, as to Colson, the casting of the case -- an articulate mother who sacrificed her freedom on behalf of an allegedly victimized child -- proved irresistible. Perot began phoning influential senators from his home in Texas. He told them, according to accounts from Capitol Hill, that Morgan had showed great courage and deserved her freedom. He urged them to support Senate Bill 1163, introduced by Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) to run parallel with Wolf's bill in the House. Both versions were drafted to place a one-year limit on the time a person could be jailed for civil contempt of court in a D.C. case. After a year, any further incarceration would have to be preceded by a trial for criminal contempt. The new law would expire after 18 months. The exceptional thing about the Morgan bill is that all the apparatus of a mighty lobbying campaign was brought to bear on behalf of one woman. Though its sponsors denied heatedly that the new law was a so-called private relief bill, its legislative history resembled nothing more. "One can say until we are all blue in the face and expiring for breath that this has nothing to do with the Morgan case, that it is merely a matter of good, sound public policy, but it is not, frankly, credible," said Rep. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), one of only 34 to vote against it in the House. "This is a Dr. Morgan-inspired bill to be applied to an ongoing case." The bill's implicit slap at the D.C. courts -- in a week when the D.C. Court of Appeals had just heard oral argument on Morgan's appeal -- troubled a small minority in Congress and infuriated many D.C. judges. "It is saying to the court: 'We're going to change the system to help this one person.' . . . Were this some poor woman on welfare in the ghetto, would we have come to her defense as we are now?" asked Rep. Mervyn M. Dymally (D-Calif.), who headed a key House subcommittee. But neither Dymally nor Senate Majority Leader George J. Mitchell (D-Maine), who shared Dymally's doubts, elected to prevent a vote. In the end, even the bill's opponents stood quietly away from its path.