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4 candidates sent to O’Malley for Court of Appeals vacancy

The Appellate Judicial Nominating Commission on Tuesday sent Gov. Martin O’Malley the names of four candidates for the Court of Appeals vacancy created when Judge Joseph F. Murphy Jr. retired from Maryland’s top court Sept. 30. The nominees are:

* Baltimore County Circuit Judge Kathleen Gallogly Cox, who has served on the bench in Towson since 1999. Cox, 56, has been the judge in charge of the juvenile court in Baltimore County since 2001. She was a partner at Venable, Baetjer & Howard LLP for 10 years before joining the bench.

* U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Paul W. Grimm of the U.S. District Court in Baltimore. He has been a magistrate judge since February 1997 and chief magistrate since May 2006. Grimm, 59, was in private practice at in Baltimore for 13 years before joining the bench.

* Robert N. McDonald, chief counsel for the Maryland Attorney General’s Opinions, Advice & Legislation Division. McDonald, 59, has held several jobs with the office since he came on board in 1989, including general counsel for the Transportation Department, chief of the antitrust division, and Maryland securities commissioner.

The nominating panel has also submitted McDonald’s name for a vacancy on the intermediate Court of Special Appeals.

* Court of Special Appeals Judge Alexander Wright Jr., who has served on that court since February 2008. Wright, who turns 62 on Saturday, is a former Baltimore County Circuit and District Court judge.

O’Malley is expected to pick one of the four nominees to succeed Murphy, 67, who stepped down from the bench to join his daughter, Erin Murphy, at Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White LLC in Baltimore.


  1. How in the world does a juvenile court judge with no appellate experience like Judge Cox make the list for Maryland’s highest court, but a candidate like Andrew Baida who has been an appellate attorney for many, many years, has argued in the U.S. Supreme Court, and has made the list to be on the Court of Special Appeals NOT make the COA list???? I guess the fix is in on this one too. If Cox gets appointed to the COA, it can be for no other reason than that she is a FOK (Friend of Katie).

  2. If the State of Maryland were to have Judge Cox serve on the Court of Appeals, the only negative would be that the Baltimore County Circuit Court would lose one of its finest and most compassionate Judges. Judge Cox serves on the bench in all areas of the law; she is not just a juvenile court Judge. One should only applaud a Judge that volunteers to serve in juvenile causes, since the juvenile justice system has been in such a state of disrepair for so long. It is a thankless commitment. I sincerely doubt there is any “fix” in (lawyers continuously say there always is regardless), but if Maryland is fortunate enough to see Judge Kathy Cox appointned to the Court of Appeals, I submit it would only be as a result of her proven record of being extremely fair, amazingly hard-working and dedicated, and quite intelligent. The Appellate courts are served extremely well when the Governor selects experienced and proven trial court Judges. Afterall, Appellate Court Judges review how trial Judges rule. It seems only logical that Appellate Judges should have that firsthand trial court experience.

  3. Arthur: I’m betting you practice alot in Baltimore County and/or work for the reelection of circuit court judges and practice very little, if any, in the appellate courts. The appellate courts, especially the COA, need far more than someone who is willing to sit in disfavored areas of the law and is dedicated. Writing is critical as an appellate judge. She has zero experience in appellate practice. She may be a wonderful, dedicated person, but she is unqualified to be on Maryland’s highest court. It’s nothing personal against her. It’s just the facts. Let her get her feet wet first in the CSA. Which, by the way, she could have applied for but didn’t. And, it is that fact that leads me to believe the “fix” is in. Let’s just wait and see if she jumps over Judge Wright, who has been sitting on the CSA for quite a while now and clearly is better qualified than her at least in the appellate arena.