Today is a celebration of a distinguished career of public service.
To honor that service with a permanent tribute the Court asked the Archives to suggest ways in which people would easily recognize and instantly understand the degree to which the citizens of Maryland appreciate Judge Murphy's contributions as a lawyer, a jurist, and pre-eminent administrator of one of the oldest and best run court systems.
You have already seen the changes to the outside of the the building with the gilding of the lettering announcing its dedication to Judge Murphy. Soon you will enter the building to be greeted by a tasteful 40" high marble pedestal on which will be a replica of the original hand seal of the Court of Appeals designed by the Annapolis Silversmith Thomas Sparrow and adopted by the court in 1783.
Inscribed on the face of the marble below the seal with its simple scales of justice you will read:
Courts of Appeal Building, Annapolis
Chief Judge Robert C. Murphy
June 3, 1996
In Commemoration of His Distinguished Service to
The State of Maryland as
Assistant, Deputy, and Attorney General, 1956-1966
Chief Judge, Court of Special Appeals, 1967-1972
Chief Judge, Court of Appeals, 1972-1996
Chairman, Hall of Records Commission, 1972-1996
As we pause to reflect on such a respected and remarkable career of public service, it is appropriate that we also remember the initial session of the Court of Appeals in this building 25 years ago tomorrow. As Judge Murphy with characteristic good timing and his usual brevity gently reminded me, by way of a clipping from the Daily Record for our history files, that session was memorable for more than the mere opening of a building, now named in his honor. On that day, October 10, 1972, the court made its entrance in its new scarlet robes and white stock, signifying a return to the judicial garb worn by the court soon after the Revolution.
Indeed the white "stock" or collar, harkens back to one of the greatest legal minds ever to sit on the bench, Daniel Dulany the Younger, who as a member of the Governor's Council sitting as a Court of appeals, wrote some of the more memorable opinions of his day, as well as a searing condemnation of King and Parliament for imposing taxation without representation upon the colonies during the stamp act crisis of 1765. We hope the portrait in which he wears that stock may be added to the State's art collection shortly. Perhaps it can find a place in the rotunda among the portraits of such distinguished jurists as Judge Murphy. His own fine likeness is about to join the others there as a further reminder that one of the best ways we can maintain the collective memory of the past is to pay tasteful homage in stone and on canvas to those who have rendered their best judgments on our behalf in careers of long and selfless devotion to the public trust.
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