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Friday, December 23, 2011


Highly Qualified, Diverse Candidates Selected to Serve Across the State

– Governor Martin O’Malley announced today the appointment of Robert N. (“Bob”) McDonald, the Chief Counsel of Opinions and Advice for the Office of the Attorney General, to the Court of Appeals, Maryland’s highest court. Governor O’Malley also announced the elevation of the Honorable Stuart R. Berger to the Court of Special Appeals and the appointment of eight Circuit Court judges who will serve in Baltimore County, Frederick County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, and St. Mary’s County. These appointees have a diverse array of legal experiences, and all of the appointees bring exceptional qualifications to their new jobs. They also represent the wide ethnic, gender, and geographic diversity of Maryland.

Over the last several months, Governor O’Malley conducted numerous interviews with candidates recommended to him by the appellate courts nominating commission and the trial court judicial nominating commissions. All of the judges selected to serve in Maryland’s judiciary were recommended to him by the commissions.

For the Court of Appeals, Governor O’Malley appointed Robert N. McDonald to represent the Second Appellate Circuit (Baltimore and Harford Counties). Mr. McDonald will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Joseph F. Murphy, Jr. Prior to this appointment, Mr. McDonald served for approximately 15 years as the chief counsel of opinions and advice for the Maryland Office of the Attorney General. In this position, he writes or edits all formal opinions of the Attorney General’s Office - opinions that analyze many of the most difficult legal questions that confront the State of Maryland. He also provides less formal legal advice to all segments of state government on a wide array of important issues.

“Bob McDonald possesses one of the best legal minds in the entire state and has an impressive record of public service,” said Governor O’Malley. “He is regarded by his peers as an expert in Maryland law as well as fair, impartial, and intellectually honest. He has already shown an ability to logically and thoroughly consider some of the State’s most important legal issues, and he has particular knowledge about how court decisions affect the operations of State government and the lives of Maryland’s citizens. I know that Bob McDonald will be an asset to the Court of Appeals.”

Prior to becoming Chief of Opinions and Advice, Mr. McDonald served as the Maryland Securities Commissioner, Chief of the Antitrust Division at the Office of the Attorney General, and Principal Counsel to the Maryland Department of Transportation. Mr. McDonald also served for nine years as an Assistant United States Attorney and Executive United States Attorney with the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland. With the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. McDonald prosecuted fraud, white collar crime, narcotics, and espionage cases. He also has experience as a litigator in private practice. Mr. McDonald graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1977 and served as a clerk for the Honorable Frank A. Kaufman of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.

For his outstanding career of public service to the State of Maryland and the Office of the Attorney General, Mr. McDonald received the J. Joseph Curran, Jr. Outstanding Career Service Award in 2007.

For the Court of Special Appeals, Governor O’Malley has elevated Judge Stuart Ross Berger, currently serving on the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, to fill the at-large vacancy created by the appointment of Judge Hollander to the United States District Court. Judge Berger has served with distinction as a Circuit Court Judge since 1998. He also has been designated to sit temporarily on the Court of Special Appeals on numerous occasions. Prior to his appointment to the bench, Judge Berger worked in private practice, litigating a wide variety of civil and criminal cases. He received his law degree from the University of Baltimore in 1984.

“Judge Berger is unquestionably one of the finest trial judges in the State,” said Governor O’Malley. “He has a reputation as a smart, hardworking, thoughtful, and fair judge, and he has presided over a vast array of matters involving complex legal issues in many different areas. I have no doubt that Judge Berger will be an excellent appellate jurist.”

Judge Berger is active in the community. He has served as the director of the Baltimore Courthouse and Law Museum Foundation and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Zanvyl & Isabelle Krieger Fund, a non-profit organization providing funding for social projects in Baltimore City. He is a frequent speaker and lecturer at various universities, association meetings, and bar programs. He also received the Daily Record’s Maryland Leadership in Law Award in 2006.

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