About That Vetting Process
To run for Judge, all you have to do is pay $50 to the State and your name gets placed on the ballot.
The difference between being elected, and being vetted and appointed.
But to get appointed by a sitting Governor, like Judge Christine Celeste did in 2022, you must pass through a rigorous, multi-month vetting process designed to ensure only the most qualified candidates get appointed to serve on the Maryland Circuit Court.
Because she passed vetting and was appointed by the Maryland Governor in 2022, we know Christine Celeste is eminently qualified to serve on the Circuit Court bench.
The merit selection process is lengthy and thorough.
Candidates must submit:
- 25 plus page application exploring personal and professional history and experience
- 2 writing samples
Candidates are then subject to:
Approximately 10 interviews with the Judicial Selections Committees of various Bar Associations who independently vet each applicant. Those groups are:
- Alliance of Black Women Attorneys of Maryland
- Asian Pacific American Bar Association
- LGBTQ Bar Association of Maryland
- Maryland Association of Justice
- Maryland Defense Counsel
- Maryland Hispanic Bar Association
- Maryland State Bar Association
- Monumental City Bar Association
- Women’s Bar Association
- Women’s Law Center of Maryland
Review by over 1,200 members of the Bar Association for Anne Arundel County who vote on the qualifications of each applicant.
Additional independent vetting is implemented by the Trial Court’s Judicial Nominating Commission, which includes:
- A thorough review of the application and writing samples
- Input from references and other members of the legal and lay community, including judges before whom the applicant has practiced
- Consideration of the recommendations of all Judicial Selections Committees
- The results of the referendum
Additional review by the Judicial Nominating Commission which is comprised of select members of the County and State Bar Association as well as members of the public from diverse backgrounds.
And, yet another round of interviews and discussion about each applicant before sending nominees to the Governor.
Candidate selection by the Office of the Governor.
By the time the “short list” gets to the Governor, the applicants have been thoroughly vetted. Then there is additional vetting by the Governor staff!
This sounds like a lot of bureaucracy, but it is important to ensure the individuals picked to serve on the Circuit Court bench are the most qualified to serve as judge.