Despite a last-minute attempt by the White House to make a deal, the Senate failed last week to confirm the nomination of California lawyer Susan Wittenberg Liebler to the International Trade Commission.

Because it recessed before approving the nomination, President Reagan will have to resubmit Liebler's name if he still wants her to sit on the commission. This is the second time in less than a year that the Senate has failed to confirm her.

One of the three nominations submitted for vacant ITC posts did clear the Senate--Seeley Lodwick, a former Agriculture undersecretary whose appointment had been pushed by Sen. Roger W. Jepsen (R-Iowa). The third nominee, Washington lawyer Lyn M. Schlitt, was never confirmed by the Finance Committee as part of the White House deal that gave committee Democrats control over choosing the person to fill her spot in return for dropping their united opposition to Liebler.

Despite the deal, however, some committee Democrats--especially Sens. Bill Bradley (N.J.) and George J. Mitchell (Maine)--balked and managed to keep Liebler from winning the unanimous consent that was required for confirmation as the Senate raced last Thursday night to its six-week Labor Day recess.