The Court of Appeals of Maryland — the highest court in the state — will hear a lawsuit Monday regarding whether central committees shall recommend one name or several to the governor to fill legislative vacancies.
The vacancy in question is a delegate seat in District 5. It was vacated when Sen. Justin Ready accepted Gov. Larry Hogan's appointment as former Sen. Joe Getty's replacement Feb. 2.
Three members of the Carroll County Republican Central Committee filed the lawsuit against the committee as a whole and argue that Article 3, Section 13 of the Maryland Constitution is clear that committees shall recommend only one name.
Hogan has requested these committees recommend three names so he may choose from a list rather than be pressured to select the one person each committee recommends.
A Carroll County Circuit Court judge ruled Feb. 12 that Article 3, Section 13 is susceptible to multiple interpretations, a decision that the Carroll central committee members appealed.
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, however, told the appellate court Thursday that these committees have "sole discretion" to choose how many names they will submit to the governor.
The appellate court had originally scheduled the hearing for March 10, but the plaintiffs filed for an expedited hearing so that the committee would be able to submit someone to the governor before their constitutionally mandated 30-day time period to do so ended. The committee has until March 5 to recommend someone, otherwise the responsibility of selecting a replacement falls to Hogan.
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Reach staff writer Wiley Hayes at 410-857-3315 or firstname.lastname@example.org.