ANNAPOLIS — Gov. Wes Moore’s controversial pick to lead the Department of Juvenile Justice heads to the full Senate for confirmation over the objections of Republican senators.
The Senate Executive Nominations Committee met Wednesday in a rare midweek session to vote on two of Moore’s Cabinet nominees. Only Vincent Schiraldi, the governor’s pick to lead the Department of Juvenile Services, faced any real criticism.
Schiraldi has come under fire for some of of his views on juvenile justice — many of them published during his time working at a think tank or as a university researcher. Many of those views focus less on incarceration of juveniles including those sometimes involved in violent crimes.
He’s also published opinion pieces arguing that adults 25 years old and younger should be treated as juveniles and tried in family courts because their brains are not fully mature before that age.
“While the acting Secretary of Juvenile Services may be academically qualified for this role, our caucus is concerned his radical reform philosophies would further exacerbate an out-of-balance system that treats offenders as the victims and neglects the true victims’ right to justice,” Senate Republicans said in a statement following the committee vote. “There is consensus that we want a society that finds ways to provide second chances, however, the actions of violent offenders, even as juveniles, cannot be dismissed. We cannot ignore the significant increase of juvenile crime in our schools and in our communities. Grown-up actions necessitate grown-up consequences.”
Schiraldi was one of two Cabinet nominees who had appeared before the Senate panel Monday night who had preliminary confirmation votes delayed.
The panel delayed a vote on Anthony Woods, nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Services, to give him more time to complete meetings with members of the Senate. On Wednesday, Woods was unanimously approved by the executive nominations panel.
Republicans, who are the minority on the committee and in the Senate, asked for Schiraldi to be separated out. The three Republicans on the panel were the only votes against. A fourth Republican member was unable to attend the vote. The Democrats on the panel who were in attendance all supported the nominee.
There was no debate on the vote and the meeting lasted roughly 90 seconds.
The pair now join a list of dozens of nominations headed to the Senate for a confirmation vote. Those nominations are expected to be introduced Thursday with a vote to be taken Monday night.