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Judge Niemeyer’s dissent is the real headline in Maryland political gerrymandering case

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

Today, a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland stayed proceedings in Maryland’s political gerrymandering case, Benisek v. Lamone, pending the Supreme Court’s decision in the Wisconsin political gerrymandering case, Gill v. Whitford. The real headline, though, is Fourth Circuit Judge Paul Niemeyer’s dissent, which could have real implications for Gill. Read More…

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Fourth Circuit Senior Judge Andre Davis to Become Baltimore City Solicitor

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

There is some bittersweet news out of Baltimore. Senior Judge Andre Davis, of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, will be resigning his commission to become the new Baltimore City Solicitor, effective September 1, 2017. He has heard his last Fourth Circuit arguments and will be finishing work on opinions over the summer. Read More…

Maryland high court grants expedited hearing for Baltimore City Council ballot

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

This past Thursday, which seems like a political lifetime ago, the Court of Appeals of Maryland granted certiorari in the following case:

Linda H. Lamone, et al. v. Ian Schlakman, et al. – Case No. 50, September Term, 2016

Issue – Election Law – Did the trial court err in entering an ex parte temporary restraining order that requires the Appellants to remove the name of a qualified candidate from the ballot in Baltimore City Councilmanic District No. 12 for the 2016 General Election?

The Court of Appeals will hear the argument at a special sitting on October 18.

Green Party nominee Ian Schlakman and independent candidate Frank W. Richardson filed suit against the State Administrator of Elections, seeking to remove Dan Sparco (a self-described “Unaffiliated Democrat”) from the ballot. According to an August article by the Baltimore Sun’s Luke Broadwater, Sparaco “acknowledges he missed the state’s deadline,” but he “gained access to the ballot through his own federal lawsuit, which alleged that Maryland’s February filing deadline was unconstitutionally too early.” Sparaco “agreed to drop his suit once State Board of Elections officials agreed to let him on the ballot if he gathered enough signatures.” Read More…

Five Nominated to Maryland Court of Appeals

By Chris Mincher

A little more than a month after nine applied for Judge Battaglia’s seat on the Court of Appeals, the pool has been whittled to five nominations. Unsurprisingly, the only sitting Court of Special Appeals judge, the Hon. Kathryn Grill Graeff, got a golden ticket, as did the Hon. Donald E. Beachley of the Washington County Circuit Court, a former magistrate judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. Two private practitioners are in the mix as well: Thomas Edward Lynch, III, a principal at Miles & Stockbridge, and Andrew David Levy, a partner at Brown Goldstein Levy and co-author of Appellate Practice for the Maryland Lawyer.

Read More…

On remand from SCOTUS, Maryland Court of Appeals summarily affirms CSA in Kulbicki

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

We have a breaking update in our coverage of the long-running Kulbicki case. Ten weeks ago, the Supreme Court summarily reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals of Maryland in Kulbicki v. State, 440 Md. 33 (2014), which had found ineffective assistance of counsel on grounds that the Court of Appeals raised sua sponteRead More…

Supreme Court Summarily Reverses Maryland Court of Appeals in Kulbicki

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

Today the Supreme Court of the United States issued a per curiam ruling summarily reversing the four-to-three Court of Appeals decision in Kulbicki v. State, 440 Md. 33 (2014). Interestingly, the Supreme Court never issued an order calling up the state court record (see, for instance, the docket in Martinez v. Illinois) – even though Maryland is not a state where the record is available online.

It took the Supreme Court just 4½ pages to unanimously reverse. Read More…

Comptroller v. Wynne: A Rough Day for Maryland Localities

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

At long last, the Supreme Court today issued its ruling affirming the decision of the Maryland Court of Appeals in Comptroller v. Wynne, 431 Md. 147 (2013). The Supreme Court’s opinion is here. Justice Alito wrote for the 5-to-4 majority, holding that Maryland’s income tax scheme violates the dormant commerce clause. In the kind of unusual lineup we expect in dormant commerce clause cases, Justices Scalia, Thomas, Ginsburg, and Kagan dissented.

The decision could cost Maryland and its localities $200 million in tax refunds. Although the taxpayers were disputing their Howard County income tax, the hardest-hit locality is Montgomery County, which has many residents who earn income in Washington, D.C. or Virginia.

For our previous coverage of Comptroller v. Wynne, click here. The filings (including some excellent briefing by Hogan Lovells in a tough case) are available here.