Judicial Elections: Fifteen Years of Consequences
By former Chairman Alexander A. Bush
Most of us spend little time, if any, thinking about judicial elections. The candidates rarely campaign and the judges appointed by the Governor almost invariably win.
This year could be a tragic exception. For the first time in living memory an unvetted candidate has won the Democratic primary in Montgomery County and earned a spot on the November general election ballot to become a Circuit Court Judge for the next fifteen years.
Back in February I wrote about two of the four “sitting judges” who are supported by Governor Hogan. I include that article again below. But since then the situation has become much more dire. I focused last time on why you should vote for the sitting judges. But this time, we need to talk about why you should vote against their opponent, Marylin Pierre, regardless of your political affiliation.
First, Mrs. Pierre has been determined to be unqualified numerous times by her (mostly Democratic) peers.
Between 2012 and 2017, Ms. Pierre applied for 14 different judicial vacancies in Montgomery County. Her applications were vetted and reviewed by Trial Courts Nominating Commissions appointed by a Democrat (Governor O’Malley) and by a Republican (Governor Hogan). She was rejected by Gov. O’Malley’s Commissions 8 times, and by Gov. Hogan’s Commissions 6 times. Having been rejected for 14 positions, she no longer applies.
Second, Mrs. Pierre has shown that she is willing to say anything to win, betraying her lack of any real underlying principles.
On June 1, 2020, Ms. Pierre tweeted: “As for the others 3 [Minneapolis] officers, ‘Lock em up’ and then the burden is on them to prove that they are not guilty of ‘contributory negligence and involuntary manslaughter.’ ‘Cops are not immune’ from arrests.”
Does Mrs. Pierre really not understand that the principle of innocent until proven guilty protects all criminal defendants, regardless of who they are and what crimes they are charged with? Additionally, “contributory negligence” is (1) a defense to certain (2) civil tort claims, not a crime. Does Mrs. Pierre not understand this basic legal principle?
And on May 30, 2020, Mrs. Pierre tweeted her criticism of the sitting judges for not commenting on social media about the George Floyd case.
Is Mrs. Pierre unaware that the rules governing judicial conduct in Maryland specifically prohibits judges from commenting on pending or impending cases in any court? Or was she cynically taking advantage of the rules? Either way, it’s not good.
you might be asking yourself why I said no one, regardless of political affiliation, should vote for Mrs. Pierre. Surely there are some who agree with the views she has expressed.
But here is why anyone, and I mean anyone, should vote against her.
For a judicial candidate to get their name on the November General Election ballot, they must win in either the Republican or Democratic Primary election. Historically, insurgent candidates have focused on trying to win in the Republican Primary, because our primary has only about 15% as many voters as the Democratic Primary. It’s simple math: the campaigning necessary to win among 12,000 Republicans is a lot easier than the campaigning necessary to convince 75,000 Democrats.
And in 2018, that is exactly what Marylin Pierre attempted to do.
In January that year, Mrs. Pierre and her treasurer came to our candidate training event and assured those running the event that she would be a strongly conservative judge and asked for the party’s support in the 2018 Primary. Mrs. Pierre came to one of our fundraising dinners in early February to ask for our votes again, as campaign finance records will show. And later that month she came to our yearly convention, and proudly posed for a photo with the current county chairwoman for the Trump for President Campaign.
Mrs. Pierre lost in both parties’ primaries in 2018. In fact, she did worse in the Republican Primary. Obviously, she has decided to change her strategy, and has remade herself into whatever she thinks will help her win.
If this doesn’t convince you, regardless of your political views, not to vote for Marylin Pierre, then nothing will.
MEET THE SITTING JUDGES
Reprinted from February 07, 2020
By Alexander Bush
A few days ago, I had the opportunity to speak with two Montgomery County Judges – both recently appointed by Governor Hogan – who are up for election in 2020. During a Presidential Election year, it can be easy to forget how critical these local, nonpartisan elections are. And as a practicing attorney, I’ve seen enough to know what makes a good judge and what doesn’t. A good judge is experienced, and shows respect to the people who appear before them. Also, a good judge doesn’t need to be a judge to feel respected or successful, but already brings success and respect to the bench with them.
Judge Bibi Berry has been practicing family law for nineteen years, since graduating from Georgetown in 2001, and was most recently an equity shareholder at Paley Rothman.
Judge Michael McAuliffe (also a Georgetown Alum) has been practicing law for thirty-two years and was most recently a partner at with the firm of Ethridge, Quinn, Kemp, McAuliffe, Rowan & Hartinger.
Judge McAuliffe told me that he has tried nearly every kind of case, and has represented individuals, small businesses, and some large businesses. But he can still recognize that the most important thing is to treat everyone as an individual and every case as its own. “I will never assume that I have tried so many cases that I know your case before hearing it,” he told me.
Judge Berry previously served as Family Division Magistrate for the Circuit Court for Montgomery County starting in 2017. She told me that many of the people who appear before her are unrepresented, and she has learned how to build trust with people who are unfamiliar with the system. Simple things, she said, like making sure there is fresh ice water for the parties or by remembering litigants’ names, shows that she respects and values them as individuals.
Judge McAuliffe told me some of his family’s story. His grandfather came to the United States from a dirt-poor part of County Kerry in Ireland, worked hard and was able to send his son to college. Part of Judge McAuliffe’s motivation in seeking the nomination was a desire to give back the country that has given him and his family so much opportunity.
Both Judges agreed that one of the most critical traits of a good Judge is timeliness. I can personally vouch for this. When a Judge takes the bench 40 minutes late, people in the courtroom seem notably less respectful than when a judge is on time. Like many other situations, the culture of a courtroom comes from the top, and when a judge shows people that he respects them and their time, the judge receives more respect in return. So important is this to Judge Berry that she was able to recall the most minute details of the two occasions (in three years as a Magistrate) that traffic accidents caused her to be late.
Something else I like about Judge Berry is that she brings a diversity of experience to the bench. Unlike most judges, Judge Berry started her career as a paralegal and took evening classes to earn her law degree, all while raising her daughter on her own. It is uncommon, but highly beneficial, for a judge to understand the practical realities of juggling childcare, work, and everything else.
Lastly, both Judges gave me the same answer to my question about what aspect of being a judge they find most challenging. Custody decisions, they said, are the most challenging because of the enormous responsibility of making momentous decisions for an innocent child. To me, there is no more important trait for a Judge than to be aware of the awesome power that they have, and the long-lasting impact their decisions can have on others.
In all, Governor Hogan has appointed (or re-appointed) four Judges who will be on the ballot in the primary election. I strongly urge you to support them on April 28th.
Alexander Bush is a practicing attorney at Rowe Weinstein & Sohn PLLC in Rockville, where he litigates throughout Maryland, D.C., and Virginia, and supervises a half dozen employees. He's also a Member and former Chair of the Montgomery County Republican Central Committee.
I join you as we celebrate the Republican National Convention. Times are so different, four years ago it was the DNC and RNC Conventions, then the Summer Olympics in Brazil, on to Labor Day and the election. (All the media outlets knew who would win – the voting was just a formality)
Ramp ahead to 2020, Olympics postponed a year, DNC and RNC scaled back dramatically, Labor Day vacation choices severely limited because of the Pandemic. (And all the media outlets know who they pray will lose!) The question is, "Will their polling be as good as it was in 2016?"
This week we’ll see a positive convention, a push back at all the negativity and hatred, and a return to prosperity and safety. Support for education, support for policing and protecting the vulnerable, and support for a return to an economy the envy of the world.
As we continue to fight this virus and strive to return to progress, I’d like to thank everyone for helping to make our Convention a success.
Montgomery County Delegates will be proud to nominate Donald Trump for a second term as our President. Although it’s still a virtual convention many will be right down the road in DC to welcome the President as he accepts his nomination.
From our great Montgomery County they are David Bossie, National Committeeman, CD3 - Alternate Delegate, Anne Koutsoutis, 1st Vice Chair MCGOP Central Committee, CD8 - Delegates Ruth Melson and Mark Uncapher, Alternate Delegate, Pat Fenati, MCGOP Central Committee. At-Large Delegates: Marcus Alzona, MCGOP Central Committee, Amie Hoeber, former CD6 GOP Congressional candidate, Maria Sofia, President of MD Young Republicans (MDYRs), Josephine Wang, MCGOP Central Committee. At-Large Alternate Delegates: Michael Higgs, &, Dwight Patel, MCGOP Central Committee, Gail Weiss, MCGOP Central Committee & President Potomac Women’s Republican Club
Thank you to the Montgomery County GOP Delegation.
Contact me with comments at Chairman@MCGOP.com
Hello Fellow Republicans,
Now that the DNC has wrapped up their convention of platitudes, it is full steam ahead to the RNC Convention. In the coming week, Americans will hear about the countless results that President Trump has delivered for the American people.
Along these lines, I am very excited to share with you our new Trump Top 10! With all the results the President has produced, it is a challenge to narrow the list down.
Our hope is that this one-page “Trump Top 10” is resource for you. Print it out, enlarge it on foamboard , and/or print 500 copies and hand it out as you knock on doors! Onward to victory!
Assistant Secretary of the 2020 RNC Convention
RNC Maryland National Committeewoman
Reprinted with permission.
By Josephine Wang
“Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” still ring true during the pandemic of 2020! A perfect example is our MCGOP speaker from the last meeting we held at Lahinch restaurant. April Wang spoke passionately about how she came to the United States legally, and immediately immersed herself into the American Dream of opportunities by getting an MA in Communications and a certificate from the Wharton School of Business Management.
I first met her during our initial Watch Party on June 20, 2019 when the President announced that he would run for office again in 2020. With a sharp eye and due diligence, April knew this occasion provided a vital opportunity to help out during this important campaign. The subsequent meetings we had were equally enthusiastic with various speakers, including National Committeewoman Nicolee Ambrose.
Then we were hit by the virus! Although it shut down most of the businesses, thanks to the enthusiasm of the MCGOP club and its active members with high tech experience, the campaign has been carried on via Zoom and other social media! Also, the fact that President Trump scheduled numerous TV news conferences encouraged us to carry on, especially when we were in lockdown mode.
Meanwhile, more than 43,000 voter contacts have been made by April and her volunteers!
There has also been ongoing technology training, which has become an integral part of the presidential campaign! Since relationships take time to develop, I was glad to have asked April to help with the MCGOP’s Presidential Campaign Kickoff on 11/3/2019, plus the Lunar New Year event on 2/7/2020, plus training some of us on the use of TrumpTalk, etc. She has always made time for us!
Although I’m a veteran of political campaigning, I don’t recall using this new technology. Not to be discouraged, I asked and queried about it. Now, with a little more than a couple of months left in this race, it’s more important than ever to pool all our resources for President Trump!!!
During the campaign seasons for Reagan and Bush, I took 3 months off from being an MCPS teacher to pick up the ball nonstop for them. Now it’s “Deja Vu All Over Again” with new faces, but the same values, guaranteed by our Constitution!
Thanks to everyone who came to the last meeting, with 97 Facebook visitors and 14 guests, who attended in person at Lahinch, thanks to Dwight Patel. Watch for the next monthly meeting!
Joséphine Wang is Chair of Trump MOCO 2020 and a Member of the Montgomery County Republican Central Committee.
The campaign of Gregory Coll is looking for sites in Congressional District 8 to post 4X8 signs for his Congressional campaign. If you are or know of a property owner on a busy street with a desire to defeat Jamie Raskin please contact Kathy at email@example.comThey also have yard signs available and would appreciate donations. They really need all the resources they can get so they can win in November. If you know anyone that is interested in helping the campaign, the best way to get on the distribution lists is to sign up for the newsletter, fill out the form at the "get involved form" on the website www.gregorycoll.com, or call the campaign directly at (386) 679-1251.
On August 19 Sandy Tuttle once again coordinated a Back the Blue and Thank You event, this time for the Montgomery County Police Rockville District. MCGOP Members helping out included Sandy, Karol Smith, Reardon Sullivan and Joséphine Wang. Sharon Bauer represented the Republican Women's Federation, along with Kathy Gugulis, Martha Hale, Joan Pleiman, Patsy Dillingham and others. It followed a sign waving support rally for Del. Neil Parrott, candidate for Congressional District 6.
Last week the Montgomery County Republican Central Committee elected me as Party Chairman for the remainder of the year, and I thank them for their support. We have such an important election in less than three months.
In the United States, in Maryland and in even in Montgomery county there’s a deepening feeling of frustration. Something’s just not right. No kids in school for the foreseeable future, work from home as much as you can, cut back on social activity for as long as it takes, but watch massive demonstrations and even violence as if it is acceptable. It is not.
Although the police are our neighbors and family members there’s a small segment of the population on the far left bent on dismantling them and turning our defense against violence and threats over to social workers. We need to continue the struggle for racial justice and against antisemitism, but under the guise of that struggle many people are fueling hatred and intolerance against “the others”, which can only lead to a lack of trust and understanding.
Just over the weekend the far left and many in the teachers unions have coordinated with the government to ban opening all in-person education in Montgomery county, public and private. Only a screen in front of a student is acceptable. This is not acceptable. We need an elected county government with common sense to check actions like this.
Yet we’re standing up. We say do everything you can to move on, safely and with sanity. Open the schools when you can, stop the violence and intimidation, support the cops who are vastly good, decent folks who want to do the right thing. While we all admit there’re wrong things in the world we know our American society strives to correct wrongs, to lift people up, and remain a place the world wants to come to.
So we stand with our first responders and laud them. We back the blue and hold their selfless works in admiration and respect. And we’re 100 percent sure that our great, perhaps the greatest medical establishment the world has ever seen will conquer this pestilence we’re faced with soon, not only for us, but for the world.
Believe me – both parties want to get back to boom times – one party to collect great taxes and the other party to provide great wealth. And yes, there are plenty of folks in between too! Even though the media portrays it differently we’re moving together as one united country, over the bumps in the road, fighting for family, community, freedom and justice.
Our November elections will reject the far-left extremists on the national level and move us closer to true representation on the local level. And the future will be bright, I know it.
Send me your comments to Chairman@MCGOP.com
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Polling places in Maryland will be open on Election Day, November 3, 2020, and early voting centers will be open October 22-29. In addition, every eligible voter will be sent an absentee ballot application.
Voting by absentee ballot is the only method that allows you to avoid possible exposure to COVID-19 and long lines resulting from a severe shortage of election workers. It's your decision to make.
Indeed, there’s no need to wait -- you can submit an application for your mail-in/absentee ballot now. This will save the Board of Elections the time and expense of mailing you an application. Get your application for a mail-in/absentee ballot one of the following ways:
- Online: Access the online application here. You must have a Maryland driver’s license or other MVA issued card to apply online. The online process is also used for voter registration so by using it you will make sure your voter registration is correct. The online application can also be accessed by texting VBM to 77788.
- By Mail: Print out the form in English or Spanish, fill it out, and return by mail, email, fax or in person to the Board of Elections.
- By Phone: Call the Montgomery County Board of Elections, 240-777-8550
On your application, when answering “How do you want to receive your ballot?” please check “in the mail” (if using online application) or "U.S. MAIL" (if using paper application). If you choose any other option you will print your ballot at home on paper that is not recognized by the ballot-scanning equipment, requiring extra work by the Board of Elections to transfer your selections to a paper ballot the scanner will recognize.
Finally, if you are healthy and willing to work as an election judge contact the Board of Elections now as there is a critical shortage of available election workers.