FIRST it was either Amalya or Brooksley. Then it became...

salmagundi

February 05, 1993

FIRST it was either Amalya or Brooksley. Then it became Zoe. And now it's Rya or Kimba.

One thing seems pretty clear: Bill Clinton doesn't want to choose an attorney general who has a traditional first name.

His original list of finalists included lawyer Brooksley Born, Judge Amalya Kearse and, of course, lawyer Zoe Baird. Brooksley and Amalya lost, but Zoe's win proved brief.

Once the Baird nomination failed to pass muster with the Congress, it was back to the drawing boards for the president.

Amalya's name resurfaced, and then vanished, to be replaced by Judge Rya Zobel and Judge Kimba Wood. Since then, Rya has been interviewed but isn't considered in the finals. Kimba is. In fact, she's viewed as the favorite.

What ever happened to simple, commonplace names like Judy, DTC Mary, Helen and Diane? Is it verboten for the Clintons to consider a plain Jane? Apparently so, since the president is married to a Hillary and they named their child Chelsea.

Is there a hint of sex discrimination here? The president isn't imposing the same first-name restrictions on his male Cabinet choices -- Warren and Ron and Lloyd and Mickey and Henry and Les and Bruce. Bill and Al had better think about that for a minute.

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