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State of Maryland

History of Reform Efforts: Maryland

Formal Changes Since Inception

1776
All judges appointed for life by the governor with consent of the executive council.

1837
Executive council abolished. Judicial appointments require senate confirmation.

1851
All judges elected by the people to ten-year terms.

1864
Term lengths increased from ten to fifteen years.

1941
Elections made nonpartisan.

1966
Court of special appeals created.

1968
Merit selection amendment rejected by the voters.

1970
Governor Mandel established judicial nominating commissions to propose nominees for appointment to the state's courts. Since 1970, every governor has issued a similar executive order.

1971
District court created by consolidation of system of trial magistrates, people's courts, and municipal courts.

1976
Contested elections for appellate judges replaced with retention elections, and term lengths of appellate judges reduced from fifteen to ten years.