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Speculation over whom Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger will select to be his judicial appointments and legal affairs secretaries has narrowed to a short list that is topped by Eric George, the son of Chief Justice Ronald George. Schwarzenegger’s transition team has not announced any candidates for either position. Numerous sources said they did not base their speculation on information from inside the governor-elect’s camp. Rather, George and others just seem like logical choices, the sources said. For his part, George declined to comment. As of Friday, Schwarzenegger had only announced one appointment to his administration. Patricia Clarey, a former aide to Gov. Pete Wilson, will be the actor-turned-politician’s chief of staff. George, 34, is a partner at Browne & Woods in Beverly Hills. He once worked under Wilson, serving as the Republican governor’s deputy legal affairs secretary from 1997 until the end of his term. He also was counsel for two years to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, and he currently helps vet federal judicial appointees for Gerald Parsky, who is one of President Bush’s main advisers in California. Parsky is a member of Schwarzenegger’s transition team. He did not return phone calls seeking comment. Schwarzenegger’s team has been tight-lipped about appointees. Sources close to the team said the focus has been on other positions besides judicial and legal affairs. Asked about the legal spots, Schwarzenegger spokesman H.D. Palmer said: “I’m not going to speculate on speculation.” Nevertheless, other people are talking and listening. And over and over, George’s name floated to the top of many people’s short list of candidates. The talk has even reached George’s father. “Well, I think that he’s eminently qualified just because of his experience,” Ronald George said. Ronald George met with Schwarzenegger for about an hour Wednesday to discuss the courts and the state budget crisis. The chief said they did not talk about his son. Others being mentioned as potential candidates are State Solicitor Manuel Medeiros and Sacramento Superior Court Judge Maryanne Gilliard. Reached at his desk in the attorney general’s office last week, Medeiros laughed and said he had not been contacted by Schwarzenegger’s people. Gilliard has held a variety of government jobs, including deputy cabinet secretary under Wilson. He made her a judge in December 1998, just before he left office. Gilliard also laughed when asked about a possible spot with Schwarzenegger. “I’m on a short list because I’m 5 feet 2 inches,” Gilliard said. “If my name is being mentioned, it is very flattering � but I absolutely love my job.” Gilliard said she has not submitted her name for consideration. Her husband is Dave Gilliard, a political strategist who ran the main recall committee. And then there’s Eric Grant. He’s a partner at the Sacramento law firm Sweeney & Grant, which filed the first lawsuit in the litigious recall campaign. Representing one of the recall committees, Grant’s firm persuaded the Third District Court of Appeal to order Secretary of State Kevin Shelley to work faster to count the signature petitions that triggered the election. Like the others, though, Grant said he hadn’t had any contact with Schwarzenegger’s people. Speculation has also focused on attorneys with Bell, McAndrews, Hiltachk & Davidian. The Sacramento firm represents the California Republican Party and Schwarzenegger’s campaign committee. It was active in fending off the numerous challenges to the recall. Partner Ben Davidian said he hadn’t given any thought to a spot with Schwarzenegger. And although he had applied to become U.S. attorney for the Eastern District, he said that right now he was “very pleased” with his private practice. Partner Colleen McAndrews declined to comment. Charles Bell Jr. and Thomas Hiltachk could not be reached. Retired Third District Court of Appeal Justice Robert Puglia, who also helps vet Bush’s federal appointments in California, said he couldn’t see Bell or Hiltachk leaving their successful practice. But Puglia also had heard the speculation about George. “I think Eric would be a great appointment,” Puglia said.

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