Judicial appointments: Raw politics

May 27, 2011

Your editorial "Judicial restraint" (May 25) was for the most part right on the mark, but it missed one very important point about how judges are appointed in Maryland.

Ever wonder why so many judges have relatives in the legislature, or friends who are powerful attorneys, or friends who worked previously for a lobbyist?

Or themselves perhaps worked for a governor as a bodyguard, senior aide or other staff member who later became a lawyer?

How about becoming a member of one of the Greek, Italian, Jewish or African-American legal societies? There are many of them.

How about your attorney husband, wife, father or other family member who knows someone who knows someone, who can get you from the judicial selection list to an interview with the governor or beyond.

It's not about appointing the best all the time. It' mostly about raw politics. And make no mistake, the governors' office has lawyers banging down the door for a job that gives them $68,000 a year, with increments, regardless of the mandatory retirement age.

Robert E. Donadio Jr., Baltimore

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