President nominates city circuit judge for federal bench


The White House nominated Baltimore Circuit Judge William D. Quarles yesterday to become the first federal judge for Maryland appointed under President Bush.

Quarles, 54, has spent the past six years as a Circuit Court judge in Baltimore. He previously was a partner at the law firm Venable, Baetjer and Howard and was an assistant U.S. attorney during the Reagan administration.

His nomination to the federal bench in Baltimore was expected. It was announced yesterday by U.S. Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Baltimore County Republican who lobbied for the appointment.

In a statement, Ehrlich called Quarles' judicial record "one of experience, competence, independence and respect for the law."

Quarles' nomination must be approved by the Senate, but it is not expected to face opposition. He would replace U.S. District Judge William M. Nickerson, 68, who announced last year plans to retire to senior status.

"I am, of course, humbled and grateful that the president and Congressman Ehrlich have given me this opportunity to be of service to the public," Quarles said yesterday.

Quarles grew up in Baltimore, attended City College and graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1976. He earned a law degree from Catholic University of America's Columbus School of Law in 1979.

This is his second nomination to become a trial-level federal judge. In 1992, President George H.W. Bush nominated Quarles to serve as a U.S. District Court judge. His nomination was not approved by the Senate before the Clinton administration took office in 1993.

A second vacancy on the federal bench in Baltimore was created last month when Chief U.S. District Judge Frederic N. Smalkin said he planned to retire to senior status because of health concerns. Smalkin said he would remain on the bench until a successor was named.

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