Thursday, February 16, 2012

Q: Who Is Senate President Mike Miller? // A: Another Defender of Misogny, Racism & Anti-Semitism

In the course of our attempted disruption of the Maryland political psyche, readers are beginning to forward interesting tidbits about Senate President Mike Miller's quarter-century reign over the Free State.

A Maryland Juice reader with a long memory forwarded us an interesting Baltimore Sun article from 1993. Darth Miller was still refining his power-consolidation techniques, and he used them to try and salvage the highly controversial judicial appointment for a former legislator accused of racism and misogny:
Arnick used racist, sexist language, panel is told
February 09, 1993

John S. Arnick, a new District Court judge in Baltimore County, told racist jokes and used derogatory and vulgar language to refer to women during a meeting when he was chairman of a state legislative committee, a woman lawyer testified last night.

Judy A. Wolfer, 34, of Takoma Park said the former state delegate is unfit to be a judge and urged the Senate Executive Nominations Committee to reject his recent appointment to the bench.

Ms. Wolfer said a "loud and angry" Mr. Arnick referred to her and a female colleague as "you bitches" and "you bimbos" during a February 1992 dinner meeting at an Annapolis restaurant. The women scheduled the meeting to lobby Mr. Arnick on a domestic violence bill that would be voted on by the House Judiciary Committee, which he chaired.

She said he used a vulgar slang term for a woman's vagina to describe women who claim they have been beaten by men....

Before the dinner began, she said, Mr. Arnick "told racist jokes with Poles, Jews and African-Americans as the object of the jokes."

"Given the culturally diverse communities of Baltimore County, these attitudes cannot stand and they cannot be tolerated on the bench," she said....

The Executive Nominations Committee, which usually votes immediately after a hearing, delayed its vote on whether to approve Mr. Arnick's appointment.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., who is a member of the committee, missed last night's meeting. After conferring with the committee chairman later, however, Mr. Miller said he expected the panel to vote on the appointment within two days and said he expected Mr. Arnick would be confirmed.

[Miller ] said many other legislators have known Mr. Arnick for years and would probably vote for him based on that long experience....

But Sen. Howard A. Denis, another committee member, said he believed the charges, if true, would disqualify Mr. Arnick.

Apparently, this incident was no small matter. The controversy ignited citizen activism, with many Marylanders calling legislators to express dismay that Mr. Arnick would be considered qualified to be an impartial judge. The Sun followed-up on their initial coverage with the following news of a citizen stampede:
After a week in which in most legislators initially seemed to circle the wagons to protect one of their own, public reaction to Mr. Arnick's appointment -- and to the Senate's confirmation process itself -- seemed to hit hard in Annapolis.

Telephone lines to the State House complex lighted up with thousands of calls throughout the day, and senators reported nonstop calls to their homes over the weekend, almost all of them questioning Mr. Arnick's fitness to be a judge or complaining about the Senate's handling of the confirmation process.

At least five senators who were in Mr. Arnick's camp as recently as Friday said yesterday they were now opposing the nomination. All 10 women in the 47-member Senate were either against the nomination or wanted it investigated more thoroughly....

Senate President Miller said Mr. Arnick's request for further investigation "doesn't mean [his confirmation] is dead...." Mr. Miller, D-Prince George's, has been among Mr. Arnick's staunchest supporters.

Maryland Juice readers forwarded additional info on the Arnick controversy below:

"MD Judge Retreats From Fight," The Free Lance-Star 2/18/93

"The Case of a Failed Nomination," Political Science and Politics, 9/1993

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