: News

Filed Under:

Ballot Measure Would Bar Lay Judges From Maryland Orphans' Court

Play associated audio

A measure on the ballot in Maryland would end a 200-year tradition that allows lay-people to work as judges who settle wills, estates, and guardianship of minors. The Orphans' Court ballot question would only affect Baltimore City, but the Maryland constitution requires that all voters in the state get a say.

Only about one-third of Maryland Orphans' Court judges are attorneys. The constitutional amendment on the ballot would require all three judges of the Baltimore Orphans' Court to be lawyers in good standing.

"The question is, should we just turn it all over to the lawyers or should we allow people in the community to participate in this process?" says John Willis, former Maryland Secretary of State.

Willis, who now teaches public policy at the University of Baltimore, says the question of who is qualified to judge is not a theoretical issue.

"One of the nominees for the Orphans' Court is not a lawyer and would be ineligible if this amendment were passed," he says.

Willis says based on history, the amendment will likely pass in most Maryland counties, with one exception: Garrett County, which consistently votes against measures that have something to do with Baltimore City.

NPR

Writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Who Gave Voice To Latin America, Dies

The master of magic realism was the region's best-known writer. His novels were filled with miraculous events and characters; love and madness; wars, dreams and death. He died Thursday at 87.
NPR

Consider The Can: An Unlikely Twist On A Louisiana Dish

When Poppy Tooker was a kid, her favorite dish was her great-grandmother's Peas in a Roux. Only years later did Tooker discover that canned peas — not fresh or frozen — were the key to the recipe.
NPR

President Obama's Favorite County — At Least When it Comes to Giving Speeches

President Obama has visited Prince George's County, MD, four times this year. It is the most affluent county with an African American majority, and also happens to be very close to the White House.
NPR

Why Did Vanity Fair Give 'Belfies' A Stamp Of Approval?

"Selfie" may have been the 2013 word of the year. But "belfies," or "butt selfies" are now in the spotlight. We learn more about why they earned a fitness model a spread in Vanity Fair magazine.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.