Members of Anne Arundel's legal community are applauding Gov. Parris N. Glendening's effort to name more women and blacks to the Circuit Court bench and say his local choices are of the highest quality.
The six nominees for two Anne Arundel County Circuit judgeships met Friday with the governor, who is expected to make county history by appointing the first woman and the first black to the bench.
Annapolis District Court Judge Clayton Greene Jr. and juvenile court Master in Chancery Nancy Davis-Loomis are considered by the legal community to be the front-runners for the jobs, which pay $91,700 annually.
Lawyers interviewed this week said that if the two are selected, it will be because of their qualifications and not their race or gender.
"When you look at the people who've been nominated, to talk about their race and/or their sex is almost an insult because the candidates are of such a high quality," said William C. Mulford II, an Annapolis lawyer and Anne Arundel County councilman.
Mr. Glendening announced April 27 his intention to appoint more women and minorities to judgeships across Maryland.
In Anne Arundel County, where the population is 12 percent black, such appointments are long overdue, said, Mr. Mulford and other lawyers.
"There's absolutely no question that among the local bar there's a feeling that the bench should more closely reflect the demographics of the community," said Anne Arundel County Public Defender Alan R. Friedman. "Fortunately, the people we're talking about as candidates here not only meet that goal, but they're very high-quality people."
The two vacancies were created by the Aug. 1 resignation of Judge H. Chester Goudy Jr. and the Oct. 31 departure of Judge Warren B. Duckett Jr.
The six nominees were selected by the Trial Courts Judicial Nominating Commission and recommended to the governor Sept. 28. Mr. Glendening has no deadline for making the appointments.
Judge Greene is one of three nominees being considered for Judge Goudy's job, said Marguerite Brown, an aide in the Administrative Office of the Courts.
The two other contenders for that vacancy are Glen Burnie District Court Judge Michael E. Loney and Annapolis lawyer Roger A. Perkins, she said.
If Mr. Glendening fills the Goudy vacancy first, the two contenders not selected in that round would join the list of three candidates eligible for the vacancy left by Judge Duckett. They are Ms. Davis-Loomis, Annapolis District Court Judge Joseph P. Manck and Annapolis lawyer Pamela Lee North, Ms. Brown said.
Mr. Glendening also is expected to re-appoint circuit judges Eugene M. Lerner and Martin A. Wolff.
The qualifications of candidates for the two vacancies are:
PTC * Judge Greene, 44, served as an assistant county solicitor from 1977 to 1978 and was an assistant public defender in Anne Arundel County from 1978 to 1985. He served as deputy public defender from 1985 until his appointment to the District Court in 1988. He was named administrative judge of Anne Arundel County District Court in 1990.
* Ms. Davis-Loomis, 47, is a former junior high school English teacher. She was an assistant county solicitor from 1983 to 1986 and was in private practice in Annapolis from 1986 to 1994, specializing in family law and land-use cases. In September 1994, she was named by the county's circuit judges to serve as a juvenile court master, deciding juvenile criminal matters and cases of child abuse and child neglect.
* Ms. North, 43, had a private practice while she worked as an assistant public defender in Anne Arundel County from 1983 to 1988. She worked full time as a public defender from 1988 until 1991, when she left to set up a practice in Annapolis specializing in criminal law. She also handles family law and personal injury cases.
* Judge Loney, 56, has been a district judge since 1990. He is a former president of the county bar association and a former hearing officer for the Anne Arundel County public schools.
* Judge Manck, 48, has been a District Court judge since 1989 and is a former attorney for the county Board of Appeals. He has taught criminal law at Anne Arundel Community College and is a member of the character committee of the State Board of Law Examiners, which examines the credentials of candidates seeking admission to the bar.
* Mr. Perkins, 52, served as president of the Maryland State Bar Association in 1992 and as president of the Anne Arundel County Bar Association in 1984. He specializes in family law, served on the Governor's Task Force for Family Law in 1992 and taught family law courses in a professional educational program for Maryland lawyers.