Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Feldman Blocks Judge Lopez Torres Supreme Court Campaign

"Judge Lopez Torres, who earlier this month won a bruising primary battle against the county party to run on the Democratic line in November for a second term on the Civil Court, said she received no response from Mr. Norman.

One source close to the committee reported that two of its 16 members, upon learning of Mr. Norman's referral role, are considering resigning.

Neither Mr. Karp nor Mr. Norman returned phone calls seeking comment.
The Brooklyn Democratic party's executive director, Jeffrey Feldman, however, acknowledged that the screening panel performs a "gatekeeping" role, but said that "anyone" who writes to Mr. Norman or the county headquarters expressing an interest in a Supreme Court nomination is "referred as a matter of course to the screening panel."

When Mr. Norman was asked about his role by the Village Voice in August, he was quoted as responding, "it's my screening committee ... if I know there is someone we are not going to endorse, then what is the point."

Mr. Feldman explained the apparent discrepancy between the two responses by saying he offered a "technical" answer and Mr. Norman a "philosophical" one. A candidate who was "repugnant" to the party, Mr. Feldman said, might not be referred to the screening committee for review."

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