Why do Judges Run in the Election?

The Judicial Nominating Process

When a judicial vacancy occurs, the Governor of Maryland uses an extensive vetting process to identify highly qualified applicants to fill the vacancy.

All applicants are vetted through a screening process by the local Judicial Nominating Committee consisting of 13 local non-partisan individuals.  This screening process involves interviews and recommendations from 15 specialty bar associations, including but not limited to: Maryland Hispanic Bar Association, LGBT Bar Association, Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Maryland Association for Justice, Inc., and Waring Mitchell Law Society.

The Commission votes and nominates individuals deemed to be legally and professionally qualified, as well as those who are the “most distinguished for integrity, wisdom and sound legal knowledge,” as set forth in the Constitution of Maryland. The names of these individuals are then sent to the Governor for consideration.

The Governor vets and interviews those selected by the Commission and appoints an individual to fill the judicial vacancy. Maryland’s Constitution requires Circuit Court Judges to stand for election after being appointed and the winner of the judicial election holds the seat for a period of 15 years unless the judge mandatorily ages out prior to that.

Judges are prohibited by the Maryland Code of Judicial Conduct from taking a position on matters that are likely to come before them as a judge.

Maryland Code of Judicial Conduct Rule §18-104.4(d)(3).