THOUGH IT IS generally pointless (and usually way off the mark) to predict how a nominee for a judgeship will address various issues, there are certain nominations that win instant, widespread applause--and President Reagan's selection of Judith W. Rogers for a seat on the D.C. Court of Appeals is one of them. As the city government's chief legal officer for the last four years and before that as attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice and a student of D.C. home-rule issues, Mrs. Rogers gained a reputation for being not only intelligent and analytical but also evenhanded.
There is no job quite like that of D.C. Corporation Counsel--in which Mrs. Rogers carried out many of the duties performed by state attorneys general as well as those done by city and county attorneys. A relatively small staff and the attractions of other legal jobs in and out of the federal government have not made the hiring and retaining of top talent at all easy either; but Mrs. Rogers did recruit many able young attorneys and is credited with increasing what had been a low percentage of black and women lawyers.
The court of appeals, which is the District's highest court, has been sharply divided by differences not only of ideology but also personality. Lawyers on all sides are saying that Mrs. Rogers' reserved, deliberate style could be enormously effective in bridging these gaps.
Mr. Reagan has made two other nominations to the local courts, which, like that of Mrs. Rogers, come from locally initiated recommendation lists. Bruce D. Beaudin, director of the D.C. Pre-Trial Services Agency and a former director of the D.C. Public Defender Service, and A. Franklin Burgess Jr., chief of the appellate division at the Public Defender Service, have been nominated to fill two vacancies on the D.C. Superior Court. Both choices have drawn praise from lawyers familiar with the work of the two.
Because the District's judgeships do still require presidential nomination, Senate confirmation is necessary. In these three instances, the Senate should be able to respond quickly--and with enthusiasm.