Md. ballot questions: Orphans’ court judges

WASHINGTON – On Nov. 6, voters will weigh in on critical issues facing regional states, including the Virginia government’s right to seize private property and the issues of gay marriage, tuition for undocumented immigrants and expanded gambling in Maryland.

WTOP has compiled additional information on some of these topics. Take a moment to learn a bit more about what will be on the ballot this fall.


Maryland Statewide Ballot

Question 1: Qualifications for Prince George’s County Orphans’ Court Judges
Constitutional Amendment

This would require judges in the county’s Orphans’ Court to be admitted to practice law in Maryland and be a member in good standing of the Maryland Bar.

How it will appear on the ballot:

    Requires judges of the Orphans’ Court for Prince George’s County to be admitted to practice law in this State and to be a member in good standing of the Maryland Bar.”

  • For the Constitutional Amendment
  • Against the Constitutional Amendment

Question 2: Qualifications for Baltimore County Orphans’ Court Judges
Constitutional Amendment

This would require judges in the county’s Orphans’ Court to be admitted to practice law in Maryland and be a member in good standing of the Maryland Bar.

How it will appear on the ballot:

    “Requires judges of the Orphans’ Court for Baltimore County to be admitted to practice law in this State and to be a member in good standing of the Maryland Bar.”

  • For the Constitutional Amendment
  • Against the Constitutional Amendment

More Information:

Each county in Maryland, except for Harford and Montgomery counties, has an Orphans’ Court, as well as the city of Baltimore. The court consists of an elected three-person panel, and – except in Baltimore city – currently can include judges who are lawyers and judges who are not, The Baltimore Sun reports.

Duties of the Orphans’ Courts include hearing contested matters involving the estate of a person who has died. They also have concurrent jurisdiction with circuit courts regarding the guardianship of minors.

“All matters involving the validity of wills and the transfer of property in which legal questions and disputes occur are resolved by the Orphans’ Court,” the Prince George’s County Orphans’ Court website says.

Proponents of the added requirement that judges be lawyers say the courts would be more efficient with the change, the Sun reports. Opponents, meanwhile, say it would narrow the field of candidates for court positions.

For more information, visit the Maryland Orphans’ Court website and the Maryland State Board of Elections website.

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