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Help wanted: Maryland appellate judges

Members of Maryland’s bench and bar might want to get their resumes ready in light of upcoming appellate court vacancies.

Judges and attorneys who live on the Eastern Shore and dream of serving on the Court of Appeals must get their applications to the Appellate Judicial Nominating Commission by 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 22.

Lawyers and jurists with less lofty ambition, no matter where they live in Maryland, have until that same date and time to apply for an upcoming at-large seat on the Court of Special Appeals. Meanwhile, judges and attorneys residing in Montgomery County may apply by that deadline for a different seat on the intermediate appellate court.

The Maryland Judiciary has posted help wanted ads for the soon-to-be-vacated seats of Court of Appeals Judge Sally D. Adkins and Court of Special Appeals Judges Deborah S. Eyler and Patrick L. Woodward, who serves as chief of that lower court.

Adkins, who holds the high-court seat for the 1st Appellate Judicial Circuit, said she will step down Oct. 31. The 1st Circuit covers Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico and Worcester counties.

Eyler, who holds an at-large seat on the Court of Special Appeals, said she will leave the bench Sept. 1. Woodward, holder of a Montgomery County seat on the state’s penultimate bench, will retire in Nov. 28, when he reaches the state’s mandatory judicial retirement age of 70.

The minimum constitutional requirements for Maryland’s appellate bench are that the applicant be a member of the state bar, at least 30 years old on the date of his or her gubernatorial appointment and have lived in Maryland for at least the past five years and in the relevant county for at least six months prior to his or her appointment.

The applicants will be vetted by the nominating commission, which will winnow the list of candidates in October and submit those names to Gov. Larry Hogan for his consideration. Hogan, like prior governors, has issued an executive order stating that he will pick his appointee from the submitted list — but he can always rescind that order and choose someone else.

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