Governor Martin O’Malley yesterday announced the selection of Richard E. “Rick” Jordan to fill the upcoming vacancy on the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, replacing the retiring Honorable S. Michael Pincus. In less than a year, the Governor has appointed three new judges to the highest level county court. Back in September 2008 he appointed Honorable Steven G. Salant and Sharon V. Burrell to the bench. While all three are excellent lawyers with fine reputations, none of the three have any experience on the bench. True, Mr. Salant was a Family Division Master and as such controlled a docket, handled competing attorney’s arguments, and applied the law. But Ms. Burrell was an attorney for the County and now Mr. Jordan is an attorney in private practice. So the question that is begged is: “why not a District Court judge?” There was a time that the District Court was the natural breeding ground for candidates for the higher court. It seems as if the Governor has turned a deaf ear on that lineage. Which doesn’t seem right for the citizens of Montgomery County. There is a least one District Court judge who is eminently qualified and for whom a variety of the specialty bars of the County have advocated. And beyond that, several more District Court judges would seem to be a good fit for the Circuit Court bench. Are there other considerations that influence the Governor’s decisions? Of course there are – there always are. One can only hope that those “other factors” serve the citizens of the County.
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