Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.), the next chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he would support the reappointment of William Webster as director of the FBI and would like to see president-elect Ronald Reagan nominate a black to the Supreme Court if Justice Thurgood Marshall retires, and a woman if another court vacancy occurs.
"If he [reagan] nominates a good black, it will give me pleasure to support him," Thurmond said in an interview late last week. "same thing with a woman. I'd like to see a black and a woman on the Supreme Court."
As for Webster, the man President Carter chose in 1978 to replace Clarence Kelley as director of the Fbi, Thurmond said he would be happy to see Reagan renominate him as director.
"He's impressed me as a good man," Thurmond said. "If Reagan wants to appoint him again, I would support him. I'd have no objection to that."
Thurmond added that he supports Sen. Howard H. Baker, Jr. (Tenn.) as the first Republican Senate Majority leader in 26 years and Sen. Ted Stevens (Alaska) as Majority Whip. Baker and Stevens were minority leader and minority whip, respectively, when the Republicans were the minority party in the Senate.
"They're not as conservative as I am. They're more centrist as far as the party goes," Thurmond said. "But I think they could help with the moderates and it would be helpful to have them. I think both men will be fine choices for the majority now that the Republicans are in power."
One of his first priorities as Judiciary chairman, Thurmond said, will be to reduce the size of the committee staff and possibly even the committee itself. He said he wants to pare the staff by at least 10 percent, which would mean a reduction of at least 16 staff positions. There are now 101 staff jobs appointed by the Democratic majority and 57 by the Republican minority.
"I wouldn't object, either, if the committee was maybe cut down a couple," Thurmond said. "We have 17 members on the committee right now and it wouldn't hurt us to get down to 15."
Two Democrats on the committee, Sen. Birch Bayh (Ind.) and Sen. John Culver (Colo.), lost their reelection bids.
Thurmond said he had no candidate in mind for attorney general, but would scrutinize carefully whoever Reagan appoints. He said he expects Reagan to appoint a more conservative attorney general than either of the two named by Carter, Griffin B. Bell and Benjamin R. Civiletti.
"You need a man who's capable, who has courage and unquestioned integrity because there's a lot of bad elements in the country," Thurmond said. "There's bad elements in government, even the Congress. This Abscam [the FBI's congressional bribery investigation] shows that. And I'd back him up in cleaning them all out. Every dishonest person we can get out of government will be better for the government."