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Robert M. Bell

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This page is about the Maryland Supreme Court justice. If you are looking for information on the Oklahoma Appellate Court judge, please see Robert D. Bell; or the federal judge for the Western District of Michigan, please see Robert Holmes Bell.

Robert M. Bell
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Court Information:
Maryland Court of Appeals
Title:   Former Chief Judge
Salary:  $167,000
Appointed by:   Gov. William Donald Schaefer
Active:   1991-2013
Chief:   1996-2013
Past post:   Judge, Maryland Court of Special Appeals
Past term:   1984-1991
Past post 2:   Judge, Maryland Eighth Circuit Court
Past term 2:   1980-1984
Personal History
Born:   7/6/1943
Undergraduate:   Morgan State College, 1966
Law School:   Harvard University Law School, 1969
Candidate 2012:
Candidate for:  Court of Appeals
State:  Maryland
Election information 2012:
Incumbent:  Yes
Election date:  November 6, 2012
Retention vote:  179,718
Retention vote %:  86.9% ApprovedA

Robert Mack Bell was the chief judge for the Maryland Court of Appeals, a position he held from 1996 until his retirement from the court in July 2013. He was appointed to the court in 1991 by former Governor William Donald Schaefer. Bell retired in July of 2013, when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 70.[1]

Justice Bell, as a teenager, was the lead plaintiff in the U.S. Supreme Court case Bell v. Maryland, which helped further desegregation and the civil rights movement. The case dealt with his 1960 arrest for a sit-in at a whites only restaurant in Baltimore. Interestingly, one of the deputy attorney generals in that case who was arguing against Bell was Robert C. Murphy. Murphy went on to become the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals and, in 1996, was succeeded by Bell.[1]


Bell received his A.B. in history and political science from Morgan State College in 1966 and his J.D. from Harvard University Law School in 1969.[2][3]


Awards and associations


  • 2011: Inducted into the National Bar Association's Hall of Fame[4]
  • 2009: Outstanding Resolution Leadership Award, Maryland Department of Natural Resources
  • 2009: Inductee, Warren E. Burger Society
  • 2008: Light for Children Award, Maryland Court APpointed Special Advocates Association, Inc.
  • 2008: Award of Excellence, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Inc.[2]


  • Board of Trustees, Johns Hopkins Medicine
  • Chair, Board of Directors, Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource Center, Inc.[2]

For a complete list of Judge Bell's awards and associations, please visit: Chief Judge, Maryland Court of Appeals



Bell stood for retention to the Maryland Court of Appeals in 2012 and was retained.[5][6][7]

See also: Maryland judicial elections, 2012

Political outlook

See also: Political outlook of State Supreme Court Justices

In October 2012, political science professors Adam Bonica and Michael Woodruff of Stanford University attempted to determine the partisan ideology of state supreme court justices in their paper, State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns. A score above 0 indicated a more conservative leaning ideology while scores below 0 are more liberal. Bell received a Campaign finance score (CFscore) of -0.37, indicating a liberal ideological leaning. This is less liberal than the average CF score of -0.44 that justices received in Maryland. The study is based on data from campaign contributions by judges themselves, the partisan leaning of contributors to the judges or, in the absence of elections, the ideology of the appointing body (governor or legislature). This study is not a definitive label of a justice, but an academic gauge of various factors.[8]

See also

External links


MarylandMaryland Court of AppealsMaryland Court of Special AppealsMaryland District CourtsMaryland Circuit CourtsMaryland Orphans' CourtUnited States District Court for the District of MarylandUnited States bankruptcy court, District of MarylandUnited States Court of Appeals for the Fourth CircuitMaryland countiesMaryland judicial newsMaryland judicial electionsJudicial selection in MarylandMarylandTemplate.jpg