Courting a judicial post

The Political Game

Prosecutor: U.S. Attorney Lynne A. Battaglia indicates that she might seek an appointment to Maryland's Court of Appeals.

May 09, 2000|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,SUN STAFF

ALTHOUGH not widely known to the average voter, Maryland's U.S. attorney, Lynne A. Battaglia, has often been mentioned in political circles as a possible candidate for state attorney general.

With two years' experience as U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski's chief of staff and her long tenure prosecuting state and federal crimes, her resume would seem to make her a good candidate.

But Battaglia has concluded that Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. will run again in 2002, and she has little interest in taking on her fellow Democrat.

Instead, Battaglia says, she might well seek an appointment to Maryland's top court, the Court of Appeals.

The seat will open up in November when Judge Lawrence F. Rodowsky, a member of the court since 1980, reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70. That's about the time that Battaglia is likely to be leaving the U.S. attorney's office, as she serves at the pleasure of the president.

"The judgeship right now is what I'm exploring," Battaglia said. "If I applied for that and got it, I'd be very happy and honored."

Gov. Parris N. Glendening will make the appointment. Battaglia probably would be a leading contender in what could be a crowded field.

State Democrats to honor stalwarts at fund-raiser

The Maryland Democratic Party will reward a few of its stalwarts at its annual fund-raising dinner Monday.

The $250-a-head event will feature tributes to Sherry F. Bellamy, chief executive of Bell Atlantic-Maryland Inc.; Kevin B. O'Connor, president of the state firefighters union; and Carol Pinsky, a fund-raiser for the national Democratic Party.

Party officials hope to collect $200,000 from the event.

Republicans, meanwhile, continue to raise money for GOP legislative candidates in 2002. U.S. Reps. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Wayne T. Gilchrest will be the featured speakers at a $100-a-person breakfast in Annapolis next week.

Bad feelings linger in Frederick delegation

There's trouble in Frederick County. The county's legislative delegation suffered through a turbulent General Assembly session this year, divided over a proposed increase in the county tax on hotel and motel rooms.

The legislation died amid the infighting, and bad feelings linger.

Del. Joseph R. Bartlett, a freshman Republican from Frederick and son of U.S. Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, probably didn't help matters much in a recent interview with the Frederick News-Post.

Asked to assess the recent session, Bartlett said he would give the county delegation a grade of "D."

Bartlett gave himself an "A."

His solution to the squabbling? A closed-door meeting of legislators. Bartlett said he has been examining the state's open-meetings law to see how such a get-together could legally take place.

`Tax Freedom' rally scheduled for Thursday

Polls suggest that taxes are not an overriding concern for many Marylanders. But some folks continue to make noises about reducing taxes.

The state Republican Party and others will sponsor a "Tax Freedom" rally in front of the State House Thursday to protest taxes and "irresponsible" spending.

The event roughly coincides with the date that the average American theoretically pays off all federal, state and local taxes for the year. Last year, that day fell on May 11, according to tax-protest groups. This year, with tax burdens eased slightly, "tax freedom" day came a week earlier, May 4.

"Any improvement is better than none," said Robert Costa, chairman of the Anne Arundel County GOP and coordinator of the rally. But, he said, government still behaves "like a kid in the candy store who just got his allowance."

Meanwhile, a new group committed to lower taxes, Tax Reform for Maryland, recently set up shop in Gaithersburg.

The nonprofit, nonpartisan group will publish papers on free enterprise, taxes and other government-related issues, said its president, Christopher B. Summers.

"I think there's an urgency for serious tax relief in the state," said Summers, a public policy researcher. "The issue has to be addressed."

The group's Web site is www.taxreformformaryland.org.

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