PRESIDENT CARTER'S nomination of Chief Judge Harold H. . Greene for a seat on the U.S. District Court here is an excellent selection - sad only in that it will mean a loss to the local court that he guided so ably to an unprecedented level of respectability. Certainly after 12 distinguished years as a judge in this court, he deserves the opportunity for new challenge on the federal bench, and we hope the Senate will move efficiently on the confirmation proceedings.

During his tenure, Judge Greene has earned a reputation both as a legal scholar and a skillful director of the transformtion of the old disorganized Court of General Sessions into a large, powerful Superior Court of state-court rank - today one of the best urban court systems in the nation. This kind of change in a judiciary system is especially difficult, for more is involved than mere management science. One must deal with more than 40 other judges, each with individual conceptions of authority and prerogatives.

Among many constructive changes either effected directly by Judge Greene or moved ahead thanks to his sensitive lobbying were the renovation of the court's physical plant, the institution of calendar procedures to cut delays, and computerized recordkeeping. In turn, the rising reputation of the court has clearly attracted better people to its bench. And as the Superior Court assumed jurisdiction over criminal and civil cases that had been handled before in District Court, Judge Greene saw to it that his court demonstrated the full capability to handle the burden with fairness and dispatch.

While some critics have said Judge Greene failed to delegate authority, his proprietary interest in the court - given the hard work it took to accomplish the changes - is understandable. Moreover, this strong interest in control of the court was never an offshoot of personal pomposity; the judge has shown a sensitivity to the dynamics of the community in his legal and administrative decisions. He goes to his new judgeship with the thanks of a city he has served with distinction.