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What does Warren Christopher do for an encore? Insiders say Christopher, the chief US negotiator in the hostage deal with Iran, is a leading candidate for a seat on the California Supreme Court.

A lawyer by training, Christopher once was a clerk to US Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas and later served as deputy US attorney general.

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If he does wind up on the California bench, he will -- for all practical purposes -- be trading jobs with his successor as deputy US Secretary of State, William Clark.

Clark's appointment to the federal post by President Reagan has left a second vacancy on the court. The other was caused by the death several weeks ago of moderate Justice Wiley Manuel.

Before the conservative Clark resigned his seat, however, Reagan aide Edwin Meese III conferred with Gov. Jerry Brown's chief of staff, Gray Davis, to seek assurance that a like-minded jurist would be appointed to succeed him.

"I think his [Brown's] feet will be held to the fire on this one," says an inside r in Sacramento, the California capital.m

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