Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Bell Suggests Furlough

The Baltimore Examiner reports that Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Robert M. Bell will suggest that judges give up five days of leave as a way of helping address Maryland’s budget crisis. Bell has scheduled a hearing tomorrow to propose taking away five of the 27 days of leave state judges will receive in 2009.

The full Maryland Court of Appeals is expected to vote on this issue. Judge Bell’s flip flop on this issue – he originally opposed the plan – underscores the increasing appreciation for the severe budgetary constraints facing Governor Martin O’Malley.

Twenty-seven days is a stunning about of leave for those of us in the private sector. There are not too many Maryland accident lawyers taking more than 5 weeks of vacation. But you have to remember that judges are being paid a lot less than they would be in the private sector, so allowing them perks like this is probably more than a fair tradeoff for Maryland taxpayers.