Legislators in Annapolis, the capital of Maryland, are going back to the drawing boards in a special session to tackle a number of topics, including getting around a Court of Appeals ruling about pit bulls and liability that has stirred controversy.
According to a Baltimore Sun article, the session will mark at least the fourth time this year that legislators are drafting measures to respond to a ruling by the state’s highest court. There is an age-old “tug of war” between the legislative and judicial branches, and it has intensified with some recent rulings, the article said.
“This is our system,” said Professor Prof. Kathleen Dachille of the University of Maryland Carey School of Law. ”We learned it in fifth grade, the checks and the balances, and this is the way it’s supposed to work.”
Del. Kathleen M. Dumais, a Democrat and vice chair of the Judiciary Committee, suggested the process is working properly, and she hasn’t heard rumblings about tension between the court and legislature.
“I personally don’t believe that that’s the case,” Dumais said. She commended the court for its record. ”It just sort of happens that there were more [questioned decisions] this year than others.”
“Judges are vested with the responsibility of reaching difficult decisions in matters that are, by nature, adversarial and often controversial, and they must render fair and impartial decisions based on law,” said Angelita Plemmer, a spokeswoman for the judiciary. “The court interprets current laws, the legislature alters the law where it sees fit.”