clear space clear space clear space white space
 r c h i v e s   o f   M a r y l a n d   O n l i n e

PLEASE NOTE: The searchable text below was computer generated and may contain typographical errors. Numerical typos are particularly troubling. Click “View pdf” to see the original document.

  Maryland State Archives | Index | Help | Search
search for:
clear space
white space
Executive Records, Governor Spiro T. Agnew, 1967-1969
Volume 83, Page 670   View pdf image (33K)
 Jump to  
clear space clear space clear space white space


commensurate with population. Perhaps the most questionable in-
novation of the new Constitution is the provision for single member
legislative districts. The purpose here was to heighten legislative re-
sponsibility. However, I seriously question whether reduced represen-
tation elected by a reduced constituency will achieve a more respon-
sive or less parochial Legislature.

Judicial reform is a most notable and necessary feature of the new
Constitution. Maryland's present court system could presently be
described as quasi-chaotic and the quality of adjudication in the lower
courts varies deplorably among subdivisions. The draft Constitution
provides for a unified, independent and professional judicial branch.
A four tier court structure supplemented by District Court Commis-
sioners should relieve current court congestion. All judges are re-
quired to be practising lawyers, a qualification omitted at the magis-
trate level in the 1867 Constitution. While the power of appointment
remains in the Governor, he must select nominees from a list sub-
mitted by a Judicial Nominating Commission, composed equally of
lawyers and lay members, all of whom serve without compensation.
For a state where appointments to the bench — especially at the lower
court level — have long been based on political rather than profes-
sional qualifications, this is indeed noteworthy reform.

In other important areas the draft Constitution responds to some
definite needs of today and is designed to meet some definite needs of
tomorrow. Maryland's voting age has been lowered to nineteen years,
a just and realistic compromise considering the responsibilities re-
quired of our younger citizens. The referendum process has been re-
vised to provide this citizens' safeguard in a method more consistent
with Maryland's greatly increased population. Provision has also been
made for legislative authorization of regional governments. While
there is little indication of this need for the present, it is to the new
Constitution's credit that it has paved the way for future governmental

Over all, Maryland's new Constitution is one of exceptional brevity,
simplicity and clarity. The document demonstrates an exercise in
restraint, consciously limiting subject and content, intentionally dele-
gating detail to legislative statute. Obviously, it is not perfect al-
together. Pragmatic compromises were made in order to assist rati-
fication. But even the areas of concession were consciously limited and
carefully chosen to prevent any wholesale consolidation of self-inter-
ested opposition. On a balance sheet the losses were minimal, the
gains optimal, and the total document a rational blend of revision


clear space
clear space
white space

Please view image to verify text. To report an error, please contact us.
Executive Records, Governor Spiro T. Agnew, 1967-1969
Volume 83, Page 670   View pdf image (33K)
 Jump to  

This web site is presented for reference purposes under the doctrine of fair use. When this material is used, in whole or in part, proper citation and credit must be attributed to the Maryland State Archives. PLEASE NOTE: The site may contain material from other sources which may be under copyright. Rights assessment, and full originating source citation, is the responsibility of the user.

Tell Us What You Think About the Maryland State Archives Website!

An Archives of Maryland electronic publication.
For information contact

©Copyright  August 02, 2018
Maryland State Archives