President Reagan is considering nominating as a federal judge Susan Liebler, a controversial member of the International Trade Commission who was expected to be named the next chairman of the quasi-judicial body.
The FBI is conducting background checks on Liebler before her nomination is sent for Senate confirmation as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal District. That court hears appeals from decisions of federal regulatory agencies, including the ITC.
Liebler has been accused by other members of the ITC, trade lawyers and lawmakers of following ideology instead of congressional intent in her decisions on the commission. The issue was raised this month at a House Ways and Means Committee trade hearing, after which Rep. Sam Gibbons (D-Fla.), chairman of the trade subcommittee, requested more information from commission members,
Liebler, a California lawyer, was sworn in as an ITC member in March 1984. She had run into problems a year earlier, when Reagan first nominated her to the commission and the Senate Finance Committee failed to act.
Committee Democrats headed by Sen. Russell Long (La.) called Liebler, who had been a member of the Reagan administration transition team, "a closet Republican" who was named to a seat that by law must go to a Democrat or independent.