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Governor appoints Getty to Court of Appeals, Geter and Beachley to Court of Special Appeals

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

Governor Larry Hogan today announced three appointments to the Maryland appellate courts. The governor’s Chief Legislative Officer, Joseph Getty, will fill the vacant high court seat reserved for residents of the third appellate district (Allegany, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, Howard, and Washington counties). Getty is 64 years old. Unless the mandatory retirement age is increased from 70, the seat will become vacant in another six years. Don’t expect the sort of fireworks from the last time a governor appointed his CLO to the Court of Appeals. 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.

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Three nominated to Prince George’s County seat on COSA

By Chris Mincher

There’s been a lot of activity this week in the process of filling Maryland’s appellate vacancies — first, nine applications were received for the soon-to-be-open Court of Appeals spot, and, yesterday, the Judicial Nominating Commission sent three names to the governor to be considered for the Court of Special Appeals seat reserved for Prince George’s County. Five had initially applied, after which Erika Louise Pierson, an administrative law judge with the District of Columbia, withdrew. Of the remaining four, the Commission has recommended the Hon. Cathy Hollenberg Serrette and the Hon. Melanie Marva Shaw Geter, both of the county circuit court, as well as Phillip Robert Zuber of Sasscer Clagett & Bucher.

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Nine apply for Maryland Court of Appeals

By Chris Mincher

Now that Judge Battaglia is preparing for her impending departure, change is occurring rapidly at the Court of Appeals. With Judge Hotten being appointed in December, Judge Watts joining the Court in 2013, and Judge McDonald donning the red robe in 2012, within a month’s time, a majority of the Court’s members will have been there for less than five years. Having gotten in applications before Thursday’s deadline, nine individuals are seeking to be next through the revolving door.

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An Advocate’s View of Judge Garland in Criminal Cases

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

I’ve had the privilege of arguing three cases before D.C Circuit Judge Merrick Garland, who is President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court. The media and interest groups are scrutinizing his 19 years’ worth of appellate decisions for insight on his jurisprudence. Much of the criticism from criminal justice advocates (on both the right and the left) is that they see Judge Garland as predisposed to favor prosecutors in criminal appeals. Critics typically cite Tom Goldstein’s 2010 analysis of Judge Garland’s criminal opinions.

My experience, while not necessarily representative, is at odds with this conventional wisdom. Two of my arguments before Judge Garland were as defense counsel in criminal appeals, and he wrote the opinion both times. I would be happy for Judge Garland to be on my panel in every single criminal appeal. Read More…

Seriously, this is a job for Chief Justice Roberts

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

In a February 15 post, I proposed that Chief Justice Roberts publicly address the harm to the judiciary that would result from Senate Republicans’ proposal to turn the November 2016 election into a referendum on filling the Supreme Court vacancy. I cited Chief Justice Hughes’ 1937 letter undermining the “Court-packing plan” as precedent for such an unusual action. A number of commentators – including Lyle Denniston in a post for Constitution Daily, Ruth Marcus in a Washington Post column, and Gabe Roth in an MSNBC op-ed – later echoed the same argument.

I am under no illusion that Chief Justice Roberts would find the idea of a public statement anything but horrifying. But the political landscape, as it has unfolded over the last month, is far more horrifying. Read More…

This is a job for Chief Justice Roberts, judicial statesman

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)

February 13 was likely the worst day for Chief Justice Roberts since he joined the Court in 2005. He lost a good friend. He lost an ally. These developments would be awful at any time. The timing, however, turned Justice Scalia’s death into a challenge to the Chief Justice’s quest to preserve the Court’s institutional integrity. Roberts is a student of history, however, and there is precedent for him to take action to defend the judiciary. Read More…

Five Apply for Prince George’s County COSA Seat

By Chris Mincher

The applicants for Judge Hotten’s former spot on the Court of Special Appeals have been announced, and, with five total, there is about 80 percent less interest than the at-large seat that 27 bench-seekers vied for in October. Granted, Judge Hotten’s position is limited to those living in Prince George’s County — which is not a place that seems to generate many appellate aspirants as of late. But the timing does give three of the county’s circuit court judges a chance to double-dip in the appointment process.

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16 Nominated to Court of Special Appeals

By Chris Mincher

It’s been quite a busy week on the judicial-appointments front: On Tuesday, Gov. Hogan elevated The Hon. Michele Denise Hotten to the Court of Appeals, and, today, nominations for the at-large Court of Special Appeals opening were announced. Although the deep pool of 27 applicants has been somewhat pared down, the governor is still faced with the difficult task of selecting only one of the 16 impressively credentialed finalists, half of which are sitting circuit-court judges. Of those, three on the Prince George’s County bench (Judge Alves, Judge Geter, and Judge Serrette) would, if it didn’t work out for the at-large bid, be eligible to vie for Judge Hotten’s vacancy.

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Meet the Newest Applicants for the Court of Special Appeals

By Chris Mincher

As indicated in the applicants list posted on the Maryland Judicial Vacancies website yesterday, more than 25 candidates have lined up to jockey for Judge Zarnoch’s seat on the Court of Special Appeals. As to be expected, there is remarkable variety in the group, from current sitting judges to esteemed public servants to distinguished private practitioners to versatile legal minds who have done a bit of it all. Below is the lineup with the applicants’ web pages and current gigs; from what we could briefly scrape off those pages – which is obviously limited by the availability of public bios and the information on them – we also cobbled some numbers to demonstrate the diversity of experience among this round of bench-seekers.

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