Maryland: Senate kills plan to abolish Circuit Court elections; Senate Pres. “We’re going to pass it next year”; House version still alive

A plan to end elections for Maryland’s Circuit Courts and replace then with an appointment/confirmation/reappointment/reconfirmation system has been shelved for 2015. According to news reports that plan SB 367 was effectively killed for the year by the Senate President last Friday (Baltimore Sun report here). A hearing had been held in early March on the proposal which would have seen

  • The Governor appoint anyone meeting the minimum criteria (over 30, admitted to practice of law, state resident 5 years, circuit resident for 6 months)
  • Senate confirmation
  • Serve for term of 10 years (down from the present 15 years) or until age 70
  • Reappointment by Governor
  • Reconfirmation by Senate

The House version (HB 548) differs from the Senate and effectively replicates for Circuit Courts the plan already in place for the appellate courts (Court of Appeals and Court of Special Appeals)

 

  • The Governor appoint anyone meeting the minimum criteria
  • Senate confirmation
  • Serve for term of 15 years or until age 70
  • Yes/no retention elections

That bill is set for a hearing tomorrow (March 18) before the House Judiciary Committee.

 

 

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