: 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.


No Meekness Here: Meet Rosa Parks, 'Lifelong Freedom Fighter'

As the 60th anniversary of the historic Montgomery Bus Boycott approaches, author Jeanne Theoharis says it's time to let go of the image of Rosa Parks as an unassuming accidental activist.

Internet Food Culture Gives Rise To New 'Eatymology'

Internet food culture has brought us new words for nearly every gastronomical condition. The author of "Eatymology," parodist Josh Friedland, discusses "brogurt" with NPR's Rachel Martin.
WAMU 88.5

World Leaders Meet For The UN Climate Change Summit In Paris

World leaders meet for the UN climate change summit in Paris to discuss plans for reducing carbon emissions. What's at stake for the talks, and prospects for a major agreement.


Payoffs For Prediction: Could Markets Help Identify Terrorism Risk?

In a terror prediction market, people would bet real money on the likelihood of attacks. NPR's Scott Simon speaks with Stephen Carter about whether such a market could predict — and deter — attacks.

Leave a Comment

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