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Fader joins Court of Special Appeals, calling it ‘a profound privilege’

New Court of Special Appeals Judge Matthew Fader gets sworn in Monday by Gov. Larry Hogan at the State House. (Maximilian Franz/The Daily Record)

New Court of Special Appeals Judge Matthew J. Fader, with family by his side, gets sworn in Monday by Gov. Larry Hogan at the State House as Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera looks on. (Maximilian Franz/The Daily Record)

ANNAPOLIS — Matthew J. Fader was sworn in Monday as the 68th judge to serve on Maryland’s intermediate Court of Special Appeals during a noontime ceremony in the House of Delegates chamber at the State House.

“It is indeed a profound privilege to serve the people of Maryland as a judge,” Fader said from the podium after being sworn in by Gov. Larry Hogan, who named him to the bench last month. “I am truly fortunate.”

Matthew J. Fader speaks Monday at his investiture. (The Daily Record / Maximilian Franz)

Matthew J. Fader speaks Monday at his investiture. (The Daily Record / Maximilian Franz)

Fader, 44, had most recently served as Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh’s head of civil litigation. Fader assumed the at-large Court of Special Appeals seat Peter B. Krauser left May 5, when he hit the state’s mandatory judicial retirement age of 70.

With Fader’s investiture, the 15-member Court of Special Appeals is at full strength.

Fader’s selection does remain subject to Senate confirmation when the 2018 General Assembly session begins in January, though no opposition is expected.

Hogan explained his choice to the investiture’s spectators, saying Fader “will make an excellent addition” to the appellate court as he has “the skills, temperament and judgment to serve with distinction.”

Frosh called Fader’s ascension to the bench “a big loss to the AG’s office.”

“I tried to persuade him that all that talent (of his) would be wasted behind the bench,” Frosh told the audience. “Not a day goes by without us missing Matt.”

In praising Fader, Frosh also made unspoken reference to his recent, heated dispute with Hogan over what the governor characterized as the attorney general’s dereliction in not supporting the local park commission’s request that the full 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals review a three-judge panel’s ruling that a cross on state-owned land at a war memorial in Bladensburg violated the constitutional separation of church and state.

Frosh said he is reviewing the three judge panel’s decision while the full 4th Circuit decides whether to grant review.

“This (praise of Fader) is just another example of where Governor Hogan and I emphatically agree,” Frosh said to laughter from the crowd, which included current and retired members of Maryland’s top court, the Court of Appeals, as well as of the Court of Special Appeals.

From left, Chief Judge Patrick L. Woodward, Court of Special Appeals, Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbara, Court of Appeals and Governor Larry Hogan applauding newly appointed Judge Matthew J. Fader after his acceptance speech to the Court of Special Appeals. (The Daily Record / Maximilian Franz)

From left, Chief Judge Patrick L. Woodward, Court of Special Appeals, Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera, Court of Appeals and Governor Larry Hogan applauding newly appointed Judge Matthew J. Fader after his acceptance speech to the Court of Special Appeals. (The Daily Record / Maximilian Franz)

Fader was hired by then-Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler in 2010 after serving as a partner at the Pittsburgh-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.

Fader’s father, retired Baltimore County Circuit Judge John F. Fader II, also spoke in praise of his son. The elder Fader recounted he learned of his son’s interest in the law when the younger Fader told him he intended to take the LSAT when he was in his last semester as an undergraduate at the University of Virginia.

Court of Special Appeals Chief Judge Patrick L. Woodward formally welcomed Fader to the bench, telling the newest judge that the members of the intermediate court “are a team, much like a championship professional team” but one in which the retired players are permitted to be specially assigned in the absence of an active player.

“We are fiercely loyal to the court,” Woodward added. “We never lose sight of our purpose, which is to serve the people of Maryland.”

Woodward concluded by saying to Fader, “Now let’s get to work.”


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