The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, an umbrella organization of civil rights and civil liberties groups, has announced its opposition to Supreme Court nominee David H. Souter.

The Leadership Conference, which was a leader in the successful drive to defeat Robert H. Bork, said Souter's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee failed to "allay" the "concerns and fears" the group had about the nominee based on his record in the New Hampshire attorney general's office and on the bench.

The Leadership Conference singled out Souter's statement that New Hampshire "does not have racial problems" as "perhaps {the} most upsetting" part of his testimony. "While Judge Souter tried to assure the {Senate Judiciary} committee at various points about his commitment on civil rights, his failure to recognize discrimination in his own back yard speaks more loudly," it said.

The group noted that some organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union and People for the American Way, "have specifically requested that they not be listed as concurring in this statement."

The national board of Americans for Democratic Action also voted unanimously to oppose Souter's nomination, saying Souter "has neither satisfactorily explained his actions while New Hampshire attorney general nor delineated his judicial philosophy regarding crucial legal issues which underpin the quality of life of all Americans."

The Judiciary Committee, however, appears ready to approve the nomination. Yesterday, two conservative Democrats on the panel -- Sens. Howell T. Heflin (Ala.) and Dennis DeConcini (Ariz.) -- announced their support for Souter.