Two District Court judges were named yesterday by Gov. William Donald Schaefer to Circuit Court vacancies in Baltimore City and Carroll County.
In the city, Mr. Schaefer's choice of Judge Andre Maurice Davis marked the second time this fall that he has elevated a black member of the lower court to the white-dominated circuit bench.
Judge Davis, 41, replaces Judge Mary Arabian, a close friend and former law partner of the governor who retired earlier this year and who was named yesterday to the University of Maryland Board of Regents.
Mr. Schaefer's earlier appointments of white judicial nominees Ellen L. Hollander, Richard T. Rombro and John C. Themelis to Baltimore Circuit Court vacancies fueled discontent among black political leaders upset at dwindling black representation on the city court.
The other black judge, Paul A. Smith, 54, was named to the Circuit Court last month only after a successful primary election campaign assured him a place on the November ballot -- running against Judges Hollander, Rombro and Themelis.
Amid fears of a racially divisive election, the governor appointed Judge Smith to a Circuit Court vacancy and assured the election of his earlier appointees.
The issue of racial balance on the court is expected to be an undercurrent in debate on a constitutional amendment favored by the governor and the state's chief judge to take Circuit Court judgeships out of the political arena -- an idea that has been opposed by black leaders.
The appointments of Judges Smith and Davis brings the number of black judges on the 25-member court to nine.
Judge Davis has served on the District Court since 1987. He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law, where he was an assistant professor of law from 1984 to 1987.
He was formerly an assistant U.S. attorney in Baltimore and an associate with the law firm of Frank, Bernstein, Conaway & Goldman.
In Carroll County, Governor Schaefer chose to elevate Judge Francis M. Arnold from the District Court to the Circuit Court. He will succeed Judge Donald J. Gilmore, who stepped down last month.
Judge Arnold, 61, a native of Westminster and a Marine Corps veteran, worked from 1952 to 1975 for the Black & Decker Corp. He received his law degree from the University of Baltimore School of Law and was in private practice from 1975 until his appointment to the District Court in 1980. He is currently the lower court's administrative judge.
Judge Arabian fills a vacancy on the university Board of Regents created by the resignation last year of its chairman, Peter F. O'Malley.