Capital Notebook

Capital Notebook

March 07, 2006

Del. Dwyer to urge judge's ouster today

Since Baltimore Circuit Court Judge M. Brooke Murdock ruled in January that Maryland's 33-year-old definition of marriage was unconstitutional and discriminatory, Del. Donald H. Dwyer Jr., an Anne Arundel County Republican, has pledged to seek Murdock's impeachment.

Dwyer said yesterday he plans to call for Murdock's removal on the floor of the House of Delegates today.

By making an "address for removal" to the House, Dwyer, who led an effort to place the question of same-sex marriage on the November ballot, hopes to force the Judiciary Committee to vote on whether Murdock should lose her job.

"If not now, when?" Dwyer said in a statement. "The legislators, being guardians of the public trust, must hold the court accountable for overturning more than 230 years of legal and historical precedent regarding the definition of marriage."

For years, Dwyer has pushed for an amendment to the constitution that would ban same-sex marriage. But Murdock's ruling has emboldened other Republicans in the General Assembly to push for legislation that would place the question on the ballot this fall.

Although Dwyer and other gay-marriage foes have argued that Murdock overstepped her boundaries, some legal experts countered that Dwyer is setting a dangerous precedent by seeking to erode public trust in the courts.

A two-thirds vote in the House and Senate is needed to remove a judge.

Only one jurist in Maryland history has met that fate. Judge Henry Stump of the Baltimore City Criminal Court was charged with drinking and falling asleep on the bench. Gov. Thomas H. Hicks ordered his ouster in 1861, according to the Maryland State Archives.

Kelly Brewington

Union endorsement of O'Malley, Brown sparks more celebrating

Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley and Del. Anthony G. Brown squeezed a bit more celebration yesterday from last week's announcement that they had garnered a key union endorsement.

Outside the Annapolis office of the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO - which happens to be across the street from and within shouting distance of the governor's mansion - the candidates and their newest supporters amplified their hopes that soon someone new would be moving into the stately house.

"O'Malley and Brown, take over this town! O'Malley and Brown, take over this town!" they chanted.

O'Malley declared that the state has had it with Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and his "George W. Bush mini-me style of divisive politics."

"Isn't Annapolis going to be a much better place with us on the other side of that fence?" O'Malley said during the afternoon rally.

Ernie Grecco, president of the union's Metropolitan Baltimore Council, was one of a handful of union leaders who stepped up to laud the mayor. He was especially taken by the mayor's rejection of Ehrlich's bailout of Baltimore's public school system in 2004.

"He wanted to give us some money, but there was some strings connected to that," Grecco said. O'Malley pointedly declined the offer, he said.

Jill Rosen

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