Maryland High Court Sees "Firsts" in Diversity

July 9, 2013

Two recent appointments to Maryland's court of appeals mark "firsts" in diversity for the state's highest court. Governor Martin O'Malley's elevation of Judge Mary Ellen Barbera to be chief judge would make her the first woman to lead the high court, if her appointment is confirmed by the senate. Shirley M. Watts, whom O'Malley appointed to fill Barbera's vacancy as associate judge, would be the first African-American woman to serve on the court of appeals. And with four women on the seven-member court, Maryland would be one of a handful of states with a majority of women justices. Other states include California, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Washington, and Wisconsin.