The Academic Ties of the First Black Woman Judge on the Maryland Court of Appeals

Watts-ShirleyGovernor Martin O’Malley recently appointed Judge Shirley Watts to the Maryland Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court. She is the first African American woman to serve on the Court. Her appointment also marks the first time that women judges hold a majority of the seats on the Court.

Shirley Watts served on the circuit court in Baltimore for nine years before being appointed in 2011 to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. Earlier in her career she was an assistant state’s attorney, a federal administrative law judge, and as a public defender for the federal court system.

Judge Watts is a graduate of Howard University and the Rutgers University School of Law. She has taught at the Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.


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