Newest Harford judge joins outstanding company [Editorial]
By Editorial from The Aegis
Dec 05, 2015 | 5:36 PM
Hearty congratulations to Kevin Mahoney, selected this week by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan to become Harford County's newest Circuit Court judge.
Mahoney, a Bel Air resident and shareholder/partner in the local firm Snee, Mahoney, Lutche and Helmlinger, comes highly recommended among his peers in the Harford County legal community and was one of four finalists selected by the county's Judicial Nominating Commission.
In wishing the new judge-designate well, we're also compelled to point out that he has a tough act to follow. Judge Stephen Waldron, who retired this summer after 27 years on the bench, has been an outstanding jurist. Fortunately for our county's citizens, having top-flight judges is the rule, not the exception, and we're talking about decades, so it's reasonable to believe Mahoney should fit right in at the courthouse.
Let's also take this opportunity to give a shout-out to the 13 members of the nominating commission who were selected by Hogan earlier this year – as is the governor's prerogative. This was their first go-round in interviewing and screening candidates for a judgeship in the county. From every indication, the commission's role in the process went fairly smoothly. The members sent the names of four highly qualified individuals to Hogan for his consideration, and the governor settled on Mahoney.
For the most part, Maryland's judicial selection process works extremely well, as it vets lawyers, who aspire to wear the black robe, on several levels. The selection process was put in place some 45 years ago by former Gov. Marvin Mandel, who died earlier this year, and it's one of many accomplishments on the plus side of the ledger for the Mandel legacy. Our state also provides for an additional check/balance where circuit judges are concerned: A new judge has to stand for election, as Mahoney will do next year, in order to receive the full 15-year term of his or her appointment.
Judges play a significant role in our system of jurisprudence and in the protection of all our individual rights as a society. Please note the adjective we used – significant. They are not omnipotent, nor are they infallible. And, most fortunately, Harford County has been spared the agony of having hidebound individuals, out of touch with the community, sitting on its Circuit and District court benches.
As Mahoney alluded to in an interview earlier this week, much of what judges do is akin to refereeing a sporting event. But, a judge also has to be able to do more than interpret the rules and apply them honorably and fairly. During their careers, these men and women will be called upon to make decisions that affect numerous lives, many quite profoundly. In some cases, their decisions will impact the entire community where they live and serve. Among the traits we believe have distinguished the best of our Harford County judges over the years are their flexibility, adaptability and understanding of our community.
Welcome aboard, Kevin Mahoney. You've got a big job ahead of you, but you'll also have many, many excellent examples to guide you forward.