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Proceedings and Debates of the 1967 Constitutional Convention
Volume 104, Volume 1, Debates 1002   View pdf image (33K)
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1002 CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF MARYLAND [Nov. 17]

urge the removal of a judge as a member
of the nominating commission at that level.

What does the minority report propose
to do? It provides, I submit, substantially
the Niles plan as it was presented in its
original form some years ago and in many
respects surpasses it. In detail it provides
that the judges on the two highest courts
will be appointed from a nominating com-
mission, and a single nominating commis-
sion, if you will, where the best lawyers
and the best citizens would be gathered to-
gether for deliberation.

We also provide that these appellate
court judges of the entire State should run
in a non-competitive election on a state-
wide basis. For reasons stated in the
minority report, we find the appellate
courts divisible from the trial courts, and
we can recommend without hesitation that
a different method be used for selection and
retention of these jurists who perform a
valuable but far different judicial function
than the judges on the trial court level.

On the trial court level, that is, the
superior court and the district court in this
unified judicial system, we propose reten-
tion of appointment by the governor, who
will be solely responsible for his selection,
and we repeat this because it is very im-
portant, that the governor will be solely
responsible for his selection, and that the
nominee will stand in an open election at
least after serving two years.

The election we would suggest should be
non-partisan in nature, and the appointed
judge could be designated in our opinion
as "incumbent" on the voting machines,
while running for a term of fourteen years
on the superior court level, and ten years
on the district court level.

If you would be kind enough to turn to
page 4 of the majority recommendation
with respect to these sections, I will itemize
very briefly the amendment we will propose
with respect to the Majority Report on
these sections.

We have a very brief suggestion under
5.13. We are going to amend 5.13 to pro-
vide that judges in Maryland be at least
thirty years of age. This has been the situ-
ation in Maryland for a long time. We
advocate the retention of that, that thirty
would be a minimum age for a lawyer to
serve as judge in this great State.

Under section 5.14 we will come to what
will probably be the real test or real fight,
if there is one, concerning the nomination
and appointment system. Section 5.14 in

the majority report proposes to set up
a section that will take care of nomination
and appointment by way of a commission
on all levels of the judiciary.

Because this section is so broad it covers
all the levels of the state judicial system.
We therefore ask by way of an amendment
for a necessary revision in the title and in
some of the verbiage so that it would re-
flect an appellate court nominating com-
mission. We would also delete — I will not
go into any detail now; I believe some of
this was commented upon in questioning
to Chairman Mudd — we would delete the
last portion of that section beginning on
line 45, "If the Governor fails . . ." In the
opinion of the minority it is absolutely silly
to presume that the governor will not do
that which the Constitution tells him to do.
We are appalled at the prospect that he
may avoid doing this if he so chooses, or
that a chief judge who has a colleague on
the nominating commission, if that were in
fact adopted, could name another colleague
to serve with him.

Under section 5.15 dealing in the ma-
jority report, on page 5, with the Appel-
late Court Nominating Commission, our
only amendment would be to remove the
judge from the nominating commission.
The reasons were explained in our minority
report, together with my initial presenta-
tion yesterday.

L might add if I might repeat myself, by
saying if you in fact want to have an inde-
pendent nominating commission, then a
judge of the court, or in the judicial sys-
tem should not be a member of that nomi-
nating commission.

If our position is adopted by the Com-
mittee of the Whole, we can delete section
5.16 since it pertains to trial courts nomi-
nating commissions not contemplated under
the minority report.

Section 5.17 can easily be amended and
shortened to be retitled "Appellate Law-
yers Nominating Commission," and we
would urge after the word "State" on line
34, that all the rest be deleted, inasmuch as
we would only be talking about one appel-
late court nominating commission.

The same would hold true, generally
speaking, with respect to section 5.18,
where we propose there be an appellate
laymen nominating commission. On line 47,
after the word "state", we would delete the
rest.

On page 6 under section 5.19, if what we
propose is adopted, we can remove section

 

 

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Proceedings and Debates of the 1967 Constitutional Convention
Volume 104, Volume 1, Debates 1002   View pdf image (33K)
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