Miller wins Senate OK to be district judge

March 13, 2010|By Annie Linskey | annie.linskey@baltsun.com

The Senate voted overwhelmingly Friday to approve the appointment of Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller's son to become an Anne Arundel County District Court judge, a selection that prompted an outcry when first recommended two years ago.

Sen. Andrew Harris, who frequently spars with the Senate president, requested that the vote on Thomas V. Mike Miller III be taken separately from a larger package of executive nominations. Harris, a Republican who is running for Congress, did not vote on the measure, which passed 42-0.

"I just couldn't vote for a judge who is appointed by the governor who happens to be the son of the [Senate] president," he said. "I think that people expect better out of their government. Miller is probably qualified. We have to pay attention to what appearances are."

Sen. Nathaniel Exum, a Prince George's County Democrat, also did not vote.

Gov. Martin O'Malley defended the selection. He said in an interview this week that Miller is "a very capable lawyer" who has the "common sense, wisdom and ability to treat all litigants with dignity and respect."

"I think he has the talents and capabilities to be a great district court judge," O'Malley said. "And that is why I appointed him."

District court judges serve 10-year terms.

Sen. Miller left the Senate chamber when members voted on his son's nomination.

When the Anne Arundel County judicial nomination commission selected Miller in May 2008, three members resigned in protest, with one saying that "political people" had lobbied for his appointment.

Thomas V. Miller III has been a parole commissioner for the past 14 years.

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