SACRAMENTO — Frozen out of the judicial appointment process for 16 years, Democrats had the golden opportunity this year to reshape the bench — not only by filling 50 current vacancies, but by creating 32 new judgeships.

The scorecard thus far? Almost nine months into his term the methodical Gov. Gray Davis has yet to appoint a single judge. And despite solid bipartisan support for new judicial slots, determined lobbying by Chief Justice Ronald George and $5.6 million allocated for them in the June budget, they never materialized.

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