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Hogan names Fader to Court of Special Appeals

ANNAPOLIS — Gov. Larry Hogan on Friday named a senior member of the Maryland attorney general’s office to a seat on Maryland’s second-highest court.

Matthew J. Fader, the office’s head of civil litigation, will take the at-large Court of Special Appeals previously held by Peter B. Krauser, who retired May 5 when he hit the state’s mandatory judicial retirement age of 70. Dates have not yet been set for either Fader’s departure from the attorney general’s office or arrival on the bench.

“I certainly thank Governor Hogan for the confidence in appointing me,” Fader said Friday afternoon. “It not matter of wanting to leave the attorney general’s office. It’s much more a matter of wanting to join the bench, take on a new challenge and be the best I can in a new position.”

Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh called Fader “an outstanding lawyer” and his selection for the bench “a loss for our office and a big win for the Court of Special Appeals.” Frosh said he has not settled on a replacement for Fader.

Fader, 44, has most recently and prominently served as Frosh’s point person in defending – successfully, so far – the constitutionality of Maryland’s 2013 Firearm Safety Act against gun-rights advocates’ claim that the law violates the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

The advocates’ challenge has reached the Supreme Court, where Frosh has a brief due Tuesday urging the justices to reject the challengers’ bid for high court review. Fader, who has been counsel of record in the case, said Friday that he will withdraw as he devotes his time to the transition from assistant attorney general to Court of Special Appeals judge.

The Firearm Safety Act bans military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in the state. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law’s constitutionality in March, prompting the advocates’ appeal to the Supreme Court.

The case is docketed at the Supreme Court as Stephen V. Kolbe et al. v. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. et al., No. 17-127.

Fader joined the attorney general’s office in 2010 after serving as a partner at the Pitttsburgh-based international law firm Kirkpatrick and Lockhardt LLP, where he counseled clients on compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and handled commercial litigation in federal and state courts. The Yale Law School graduate also served as trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice from 1999 to 2002, according to a biography from the governor’s office.

“I am confident that Mr. Fader is the most qualified candidate to fill the vacancy on the Maryland Court of Special Appeals,” Hogan said in the statement announcing the selection. “I would like to congratulate him on the appointment, and I know he will serve the people of Maryland well in this new role.”

Fader’s selection is subject to Senate confirmation when the 2018 General Assembly session begins in January.

His appointment brings the Court of Special Appeals to its full complement of 15 active judges.

The governor selected Fader from among a list of nine attorneys and five circuit court judges submitted to Hogan by the Appellate Judicial Nominating Commission in June.

The candidates who Hogan passed over are Andrew H. Baida, of Rosenberg Martin Greenberg LLP in Baltimore; Assistant Maryland Attorneys General Cathleen C. Brockmeyer and Karen Federman Henry; Gardner M. Duvall, of Whiteford Taylor Preston in Baltimore; Kurt James Fischer, of Venable LLP; J. Bradford McCullough, of Lerch, Early & Brewer Chtd. in Bethesda; Martin E. Wolf, of Gordon, Wolf & Carney Chtd. in Towson; Phillip R. Zuber, of Sasscer, Clagett & Bucher in Upper Marlboro.

Lower-court judges in the running were Baltimore County Circuit Judge Judith C. Ensor; Prince George’s County Circuit Judges Cathy H. Serrette and Sean D. Wallace; Calvert County Circuit Judge E. Gregory Wells; and Baltimore City Circuit Judge Pamela J. White.

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