A team from Joseph Greenwald & Laake won a major appellate victory on June 21 in the Maryland Court of Appeals and it has made the front page of The Daily Record’s website. The court ruling upholds Governor Larry Hogan’s right under Maryland law to reappoint Cabinet positions under recess appointments to former secretaries Dennis Schrader and Wendi Peters, both of whom he had previously nominated and then withdrawn. The Joseph Greenwald & Laake team represented both Schrader and Peters and was led by principal Timothy Maloney with associates Megan A. Benevento and Alyse L. Prawde.
According to Maloney, the Court’s ruling was a “complete vindication” of Schrader, Peters and Hogan. “Reducing a Cabinet official’s salary to zero is a blunt device for enforcing legislative prerogative,” Maloney said. “This is not the way to resolve separation of powers issues.”
The Maryland General Assembly, regarding the appointments as illegitimate, had added a section to the annual budget act that was specifically intended to prohibit payment of salaries to the two appointees, Wendi Peters of the Department of Planning and Dennis R. Schrader of the Department of Health.
But in a 4-3 opinion written by Judge Alan M. Wilner, the state’s highest court ruled that the appointments were legal and that the budget insertion fell outside the powers of the legislature.
The court ruled that the state Constitution permits the Governor to nominate any suitable person to a Cabinet post, except for someone whom the state Senate has previously rejected. Neither Peters nor Schrader was rejected by the Senate.
“The comptroller will issue the warrant and the treasurer will issue the checks and this chapter will close,” Maloney said.
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Maloney is a preeminent trial lawyer who has obtained millions of dollars in recoveries for his clients in a wide variety of matters, including civil rights, employment discrimination, whistleblower actions and high-stakes business litigation. He is a committed advocate for the public good who has held leadership roles with many civic and charitable organizations.