Conservatives fear that if Bill Clinton wins, he'll have an immediate opportunity to start rebuilding a liberal majority on the key federal appeals court in Washington, which reviews most regulatory decisions. Reagan-Bush appointees now hold 7 of the 12 seats on the bench. John G. Roberts Jr. has been named to fill the seat vacated by Justice Clarence Thomas, but his appointment will likely die when Congress adjourns. If, as many expect, Judge James L. Buckley resigns next year, a Democratic President would have a quick chance to establish an even liberal-conservative split.

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