WHAT'S the best way to gain a top state judgeship in Maryland? Become a fervent booster of Gov. Parris N. Glendening.
That's what happened when the governor anointed his hand-picked chairman of the state Democratic Party, Peter Krauser, as the newest member of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.
It's an unprecedented move in this state -- the head of a state political party being given a choice judgeship as a "thank you."
So much for the notion that the judiciary is insulated from partisanship.
Regardless of Mr. Krauser's legal experience, it was his unyielding defense of Mr. Glendening's record as governor -- even in the 1998 primary campaign -- that set him on a judicial fast-track.
Under our state constitution, we could take solace in the fact that all judicial nominations still must be approved by the Senate. This appointment, more than any other by Mr. Glendening, cries out for critical questions about the role partisan politics played.
But more likely, Mr. Krauser will be praised by compliant senators and his nomination quickly rubber-stamped. There is no real check and balance.
Politics and judgeships are being drawn too closely together by Mr. Glendening. Will anyone in Annapolis dare challenge the governor's wisdom?