One judgeship, and two friends

The Political Game

Choice: An impending retirement from the Maryland Court of Appeals could leave Gov. Parris N. Glendening with a tough decision on a replacement.

June 22, 1999|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,SUN STAFF

IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF months, Gov. Parris N. Glendening faces a ticklish decision.

The governor must name a replacement for Howard S. Chasanow, who is retiring from the Maryland Court of Appeals after 28 years as a state judge.

Typically, handing out a seat on the state's highest court is the kind of chore that makes it fun to be a governor.

But Glendening might end up having to choose between two longtime friends from his home county of Prince George's -- Court of Special Appeals Judge Glenn T. Harrell Jr. and Circuit Judge Sherri L. Krauser.

Krauser, a judge for 10 years, might have the stronger political credentials because she once worked for Glendening in the Prince George's County attorney's office and is married to Peter B. Krauser, head of the Maryland Democratic Party.

Glendening has given her one promotion, moving her in 1995 from District Court to Circuit Court.

Harrell is a social acquaintance of the governor who has served on the intermediate appeals court for eight years after being appointed by former Gov. William Donald Schaefer.

With Harrell and Krauser deemed favorites for the job, only one other person applied for the high court seat -- Court of Special Appeals Judge James P. Salmon.

One popular theory in circulation suggests that Glendening will bump Harrell or Salmon up to the Court of Appeals, creating an opening for Krauser on the Court of Special Appeals. Two appointments, twice as much happiness to spread around.

In technical political language, that's known as a "two-fer."

Townsend will be co-chair of Democratic conference

Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend will take another step into the national political spotlight next month when she serves as co-chair of a Baltimore conference sponsored by the Democratic Leadership Council.

Townsend and Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke are scheduled to make a formal announcement about the conference today.

The council rose to prominence with Bill Clinton, an early leader of the group, which espouses a more moderate brand of Democratic policies.

The conference, to take place July 14 and 15, is likely to attract Democrats from around the country.

The council immodestly calls the event a "nationally renowned conversation."

Townsend, who might be the most politically active lieutenant governor in the nation, thanks largely to her middle name, was a keynote speaker at last year's conference.

At this year's event at the Baltimore Convention Center, Townsend is expected to talk about government programs that work, focusing on the criminal justice initiatives she has started here.

She also is helping push tickets for a July 28 fund-raiser in Baltimore for Vice President Al Gore.

The $1,000-a-head event will be Gore's second major fund-raising event in Maryland in the past few months.

This flurry of activity on the national stage can only burnish Townsend's credentials in preparation for her expected run for governor in 2002.

Miller view of veto override bothers some Republicans

Some Republicans took exception to a recent statement by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller in the wake of Glendening's veto of legislation granting legal protections to Maryland companies that experience so-called Y2K computer problems.

While Republicans were calling for a special session of the General Assembly to override the veto, Democrat Miller said a special session would be a waste because the legislation barely squeaked through the Senate with 25 votes, one more than needed to pass and well short of the 29 necessary to override.

Del. Robert H. Kittleman, the House Republican leader, said the bill received 30 votes, which would, in theory, be enough to undo the veto.

But Miller was no doubt thinking of the Senate version of the bill, which did indeed pass with 25 votes.

On a key roll call on the House bill, only 25 senators voted against major weakening amendments.

Under Miller's thinking, it would be all but impossible to round up 29 votes sought by business interests to overturn Glendening's veto.

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