Judge Matthew Maddox – Nominee to the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.

The District Court of Maryland has a history of elevating magistrates to lifetime appointments, with Judges Stephanie Gallagher and Deborah Boardman elevated in the last few years. Two more have now been nominated, including Judge Matthew Maddox.

Background

Matthew James Maddox received a B.A. summa cum laude from Morgan State University in 1999, and subsequently was selected as a Fulbright Scholar, while also spending some time in the Teach for America program. Maddox subsequently obtained a J.D. from Yale Law School in 2011.

After graduation, Maddox clerked for Judge Gerald Bruce Lee on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and then for Judge Andre Davis on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Maddox subsequently spent two years at Hollard & Knight LLP before becoming a federal prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland.

In 2022, Maddox was appointed to be a U.S. Magistrate Judge for the District of Maryland to replace Judge Thomas DiGirolamo, where he currently serves.

History of the Seat

Maddox has been nominated for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland to replace Judge Paul Grimm, who took senior status on December 11, 2022.

Legal Career

Maddox began his legal career as a law clerk on the Eastern District of Virginia and then on the Fourth Circuit. After his clerkships,she worked as an associate at Holland & Knight. During his tenure there, Maddox represented the video distribution service Sky Angel in a breach of contract action against Discovery Communications LLC. See Sky Angel U.S., LLC v. Discovery Communications, LLC. et al., 28 F. Supp. 3d 465 (D. Md. 2014).

From 2015 to 2022, Maddox worked as a federal prosecutor in Maryland. In his role, Maddox represented the United States in federal prosecutions before both the district and appellate courts. For example, Maddox argued before the Fourth Circuit where the Defendant challenged the seizure of his MacBook Pro, iPhone, and iPod at an airport, and the subsequent warrantless search of the devices. See United States v. Aigbekaen, 943 F.3d 713 (4th Cir. 2019). The Fourth Circuit found, contrary to Maddox’s arguments, that the searches were not justified under the “border search” exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement. See id. at 723. However, the Court nonetheless ruled in the government’s favor under the “good faith” exception. See id. at 725. Judge Jay Richardson concurred, finding that he would have found the search justified under the “border search” exception. See id. at 726 (Richardson, J., concurring).

Jurisprudence

Maddox has served as a U.S. Magistrate judge in Maryland since his appointment in 2022. In this role, he handles settlement, discovery, and makes recommendations on dispositive motions, while presiding over cases where the parties consent.

Maddox’s short tenure as a magistrate has left him with few substantive decisions under his belt. In the context of reviewing administrative denials of social security benefits, Maddox affirmed an ALJ decision that a plaintiff’s seizure disorder was not of a seriousness that prevented him from working and caused him to be disabled. See James L. v. Comm’r, Civil No. MJM-21-1718 (D. Md. Sept. 30, 2022). Maddox also granted summary judgment to Walmart in a slip-and-fall case, noting that it was not disputed between the parties that the store lacked actual or constructive knowledge of the hazard that caused the plaintiff’s injury. See McLaughlin v. Walmart, Inc., Civil Action MJM-21-1305 (D. Md. Mar. 20, 2023).

Maddox also presided over a bench trial in a case alleging damages after an EKG technician allegedly walked in on a female patient’s medical examination without permission. See Neal v. United States, Civil Action No. MJM 19-1033 (D. Md. Jan. 23, 2023). Maddox found in favor of the plaintiff on claims of professional negligence and negligent supervision, awarding $5000 in compensatory damages. See id. (Memorandum of Decision). Maddox found in favor of the defendants on the other claims. See id.

Overall Assessment

Compared to fellow nominee Hurson, Maddox should have the easier path to confirmation. There is little in his background that should cause controversy, although, as other experienced nominees have learned, the Judiciary Committee hearing can snag even those otherwise poised for confirmation.

660 Comments

  1. @ Dequan

    I heard Gov Murphy wants to appoint someone in the mold of Christine O’Hearn to the seat, but who is at least 15 yrs older though…Murphy said he wants to appoint someone to the right of Joe Manchin whose at least 75 yrs old

    Gotcha. Just kidding!, haven’t heard anything re that open seat

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    • He might as well put Dr. Oz on the New Jersey Supreme Court, at least Oz is more liberal than some of the Republicans that Murphy is considering nominating for partisan balance. (also Oz’s political positions, like his location, are highly malleable and based on whatever is convenient for him)

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      • I thought the current vacancy would be a Democrat seat? The court has 3 Dems & 3 Reps with a temporary judge for the 7th seat. I really hate that the only states with the partisan balance tradition seems to be blue states. New Jersey & Delaware both have it. Not sure if any other states do.

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      • And in the case of Delaware, both US senators brag about it when introducing their judicial nominees in the SJC. I think New Jersey similar to New York lost some state seats in the last election so I don’t believe they have a super majority anymore. I wonder if the election goes well next year will they consider forgoing the partisan balance. What I really wish they would do is move their governors race to an even number year.

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      • In the case of Delaware sure since it’s written in the state constitution. In the case of New Jersey, if the Democrats gain back seats next year I would say screw it. The state is blue now.

        As long as Democrats don’t nominate somebody corrupt (Easier said than done in that state), they should be in control of the governorship for a generation. But I would seriously consider changing the elections to an even number year. I’m not sure how hard it is to change that but I would if I could ever advise state officials.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. @Dequan @Ryan Joshi

    NJ’s structure is really interesting and really does enforce checks and balances vis-a-vis the governor and state. My knee-jerk reaction would be to get rid of the partisan-balance tradition and senatorial courtesy system, but after looking at this with a cooler head, I see the utility of the system and how it actually does benefit Dems.
    NJ has one of the country’s strongest gubernatorial systems (whereas Texas has probably the weakest – its Lt. Gov is the state’s most powerful position). So, it makes sense that the NJ senate evolved to counter the inherent strength of the governor.
    I don’t remember the exact stats, but before Murphy’s re-election in 2021, a Dem hadn’t won reelection for about 40 years. So even though it was blue, Republicans have a good chance of being governor for more than half of the time. That’s where the partisan-balance tradition and senatorial courtesy system are beneficial to the Democratic-dominated senate/state assembly. In the near future, if Dems continue to be more favored to win the governorship, then I’d advocate for them to scrap those two things.
    Even while I don’t object to NJ’s system, I would absolutely concede the point that these traditions seem to always happen in blue states and put Dems at a disadvantage. My default is to categorically reject these one-sided “restraints.” It should be restraints for all or restraints for none.

    Relatedly, how awesome is Murphy on judges? He’s probably the best Dem governor on judicial nominations. He did not relent on the Wainer Apter nomination and when he had to compromise on naming a Republican, he named the acceptable Douglas Faciale. Now there’s no immediate prospects for filling the last vacancy. This would never happen in a red state. Murphy should get the ball rolling by nominating a Dem, which would still preserve the system. Hopefully he’ll nominate a liberal from a district with a Democratic senator, so that they can release their “blue slip.”

    Now to the elections. I see no issue with NJ’s election being in an odd year. Who says elections should only be in even years? There are 5 outliers states: 2 with statewide elections happening in post-presidential election years – New Jersey and Virginia; and 3 with pre-presidential election years — Kentucky, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Those elections are good barometer of the electoral mood of the country and I see no reason to change it.

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    • @Gavi

      Very good analysis. As to your first point, the reason why I would still scrap the partisan balance even with the recent 40 year history you accurately noted is because of the very New Jersey Democratic-dominated senate/state assembly you mentioned. If a Republican wins the governorship, they can simply Kathy Hochul (Sorry, it’s Monday so getting my Hochul dig for the week out of the way early… Lol) the nominee & vote them down. Honestly after what Mitch McConnell pulled on a national level, I could see them either rejecting every Republican nominee or forcing the Republican governor to wait for there to be two vacancies & force the partisan balance without the tradition or making a Democrat governor play by the same rules. Is that fair? NOPE. Now ask me do I care if it’s fair or any I crying any tears for Republicans getting treated unfairly when it comes to the judiciary anywhere. I’ll let you guess my answer to that… Lol

      As to your second point, I couldn’t agree more with you. Governor Murphy has been rock solid on judges, even on the Republican justice. That is just another reason I want the partisan balance gone. Btw I’ve heard the Texas Lt. Governor is more powerful than the governor. I actually read once the Texas Land Commissioner is almost if not as powerful as well. I don’t know much about the ins & outs of Texas politics but that’s pretty amazing to me that could be the case.

      The only thing I disagree with you on (Despite me agreeing you have & always give great analysis & details explanations) is your last point. I absolutely would change New Jersey elections to even number years. I think one of the reasons your aforementioned point about Republicans success over the last 40 years in the governorship is because of low voter turnout. Of course bad & corrupt candidates played a part in the past 40 years but as we saw in New York, even a conservative, incompetent, bad governor that doesn’t know it snows in Buffalo (I don’t think I made any Hochul references last week so making up for that… Haaaaa) can win in a deep blue state in an even number year.

      I would argue a Democrat, even a bad Democrat would have a better chance of winning in New Jersey in an even number year then it’s current structure. Hell Murphy himself only won by 5 points last time against a Republican I could barely pick out of a line up. I understand an off year election can be an outliner for the even number election but I just care more about a Democrat winning than that in my humble opinion.

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      • The more Hochul digs, the better!
        I hope you and everyone here know that I don’t pretend to be righteous when it comes to power politics. Again, I am extremely averse to one-sideisms. If, per your first paragraph, the situation benefits Dems, I’m all for it. But you have to have a willing senate Dem majority to go along with it. Notice how there’s no Dems calling on the governor to make a move on the current vacancy?

        That’s true about the Texas Land Commissioner. The TX governor don’t even have a blanket pardon power like other governors. They can only pardon upon another agency’s recommendation. Crazy, huh? Because of this weakness, Texas doesn’t feel the need to have term limits for the governor.

        I’ll counter your even year election point with Hochul’s election. Hochul won in an even year by 5 points, just as many as Murphy in an odd year. So it’s not immediately clear what advantages would be gained by moving NJ’s elections to even years. (Also, remember that I am pretty consistent in being a 50+1 guy. Winning by 5 points is usually just as unnecessary as winning by 60 points haha.)
        Dems in KY and LA would never win statewide races while sharing the same ballot with US senate and House candidates. The pro-Republican coattails in these states would sweep/keep statewide Dems from office.

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      • Oh I completely agree with keeping the KY & LA elections the same. I am unapologetically not being consistent here & just want it changed for New Jersey only… Haaaaaa

        Yea that’s incredible about Texas. With the last three Republican governors they have had & even the last Democrat governor, all 4 who have been on the national stage, I’m amazed none of them have tried to change state law to give themselves more power. And when I read the Texas Land Commissioner had so much power, I actually thought it was a joke when I first read it… Wow

        And awesome, I try to keep the Hochul digs to one a week now that she was embarrassed/forced into making good picks to the high court. Perhaps I can increase to two a week now… Lol

        Liked by 1 person

      • Governor Murphy is light years better on judges than both Menendez & Booker. It’s not even close. His only Republican appointees that he was forced to pick due to the partisan balance rule was an older moderate. His two Democrat picks are absolute rock stars. One is a Haitian woman in her low 40’s & the other is a former ACLU attorney also in her low 40’s that would make Dale Ho blush. Murphy should not be mentioned in the same sentence as the two horrible judge picking New Jersey senators.

        If I wake up any day this week when we get our 33rd batch & see governor Murphy recommended the 3rd circuit pick then I don’t even need to read the announcement, I approve, sight unseen. I fully expect the nominee to be Esther Salas, Justin Neals or some other disappointing pick but I can assure you it won’t be because of Phil Murphy.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s a good point. As you’re pitching it, Murphy’s Republicans are equivalent to the “Democrats” picked by Menendez & Booker and his Democrats are way better. It’s almost as if the New Jersey courts have more to do with who picks the judges than what party the judges are from.

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    • Absolutely excellent news!
      Also, not to brag, but I called this! Last month, counter to the general consensus in here (wink wink, Dequan) I said that a possible Feinstein SJC replacement would be a senator who won’t run for reelection next year. I was right. You got to understand that the SJC is a lot of work and to take on that extra load while running for reelection is a heavy burden.

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    • Now will Republicans try to recruit Larry Hogan again? He’s already let them down when he passed on a senate campaign the last time.
      On the Dem side, will this be Donna Edwards’s time? Or Rep. Anthony Brown? I just hope it’s a young-ish progressive to balance out the institutional conservatism of the senate.

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    • @Rick

      This is not a surprise at all.

      Angela Ashbrooks is a possible candidate. If elected, she’d be the first black and second woman to represent Maryland in the U.S. Senate.

      Congressman David Trone is another possible candidate. He represents a marginal district and a Senate campaign would be easier for him. He’s also very wealthy.

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  3. Thankful to Senator Cardin for a long career of service and I hope to see another strong senator take that seat. Between California, Michigan, and Maryland (and hopefully Arizona) there should be several new Dems in the senate.

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    • This leaves only 4 undecided Democrats: Sanders, Carper, Manchin, & Sinema.

      Out of the 5 senators undecided before today, Cardin was the only one whom I lacked a strong wish about whether they run or retire.

      Carper – should retire because he is a domestic abuser and not even that liberal. As a plus, Lisa Blunt Rochester is the frontrunner if Carper retires, meaning another black woman in the Senate.

      Sinema – should retire because she will likely be a spoiler for Dems if she runs

      Sanders – should run because he is a needed progressive voice in the Senate

      Manchin – should run because without him, Democrats are toast in West Virginia

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      • There are 4 undecided Republicans: Romney, Cramer, Barrasso, & Marsha Blackburn.

        I hope Romney runs because of his willingness to stand up against Trump (zero chance a Democrat wins in Utah). As for the other 3 Republicans’ decisions, I couldn’t care less.

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      • I hope the Tennessee backlash against the Republican legislature translates into a credible challenger to Marsha Blackburn. I would love nothing more then to never have to hear her talk about a Black man’s “rap sheet” because of three speeding tickets in another SJC hearing. If either her, Rick Scott or Ted Cruz can be defeated in the general election next year then I will consider it a success for the senate regardless of the rest of the results.

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      • I don’t know much about senator Carper being a domestic abuser but I completely agree with the rest of your analysis 100%. If I had to guess, senator Manchin may choose to retire similar to senator Ben Nelson, figuring he can’t win the race & would rather leave on his own terms. Senator Sinema absolutely needs to announce she isn’t running but if she thinks she can make $3 out of the deal I suspect she will run.

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      • Yeah, most of the worst Senate Republicans (namely Rick Scott, Ted Cruz, & Josh Hawley) have already announced they’re running. If their states were swing states then they would lose. However, Florida and Missouri are no longer swing states and Texas is not yet one.

        One sign that Sinema might not run is that a reporter who was able to get an in-depth interview for Sinema explained that Sinema “talks like someone who does not sound like they will run again”.

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  4. I’m happy to see Anthony Johnstone getting confirmed alter on today. One of the disappointments in Biden’s judicial nominees to the circuit courts is a lack of current law professors. It’s hard to believe today will be the first of Biden’s 32 circuit court nominees who are one but hopefully not the last.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t hold your breath on that. Biden doesn’t like nominating law professors to be judges dating back to when he was on the SJC, and with his current team in place they certainly won’t be pushing for him to do so. It should also be noted that Toby Heytens also spent a extensive period of time as a law professor, but like Johnstone served as the solicitor general for the state that he was nominated from.

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  5. Wasn’t Heytens also a law professor? Can’t remember the specifics though.

    Sounds like more judges should be incoming later this week as well.

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  6. TBH, I was hoping for more, but IL-N and CA-C have lots of vacancies. It’s critical to fill red-state seats and I hope the WH puts some priority on it, but keeping the MAGA contagion out of blue state courts is important, too.

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  7. Yellen announced the debt ceiling limit is June 1st, not late July as wall street was expecting so enjoy the confirmations for the next few days. The votes will be short lived before the senate puts it’s full focus on debt ceiling.

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    • That may actually be a good thing. That may force Feinstein’s hand to finally come back to work. Schumer will surely let her know she is needed for that.

      Of course I have little faith she won’t have another excuse to eventually be out weeks/months again at some point later this year but at least if she can return for the debt limit, she may stay around at least a couple weeks before going back out again.

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    • Feinstein is a victim of Senate rules-induced voter suppression. If she were comfortably able to fly back and vote, I would say she’s one of those activists who doesn’t vote even though they can (which I have no sympathy for). However, given her health issues, she’s a senior citizen who is denied a mail ballot despite her advanced age. Imagine telling someone who’s very sick that they can’t vote unless they fly to the other side of the country. It’s cruel and it’s voter suppression.

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    • Like seriously, they all have computers. They could pass legislation from their homes if they wanted to. Some may be concerned about cybersecurity, although I guarantee that the Senators’ computers are more secure than the Capitol building on the morning of Jan. 6th, 2021.

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  8. Dianne Feinstein gives me parallels about Frank Lautenberg. Both of them announced retirement on February 14 of the year before they were up for re-election. Like Feinstein, Lautenberg basically stopped showing up right after he announced his intention to retire. Lautenberg showed up one last time on April 17, 2013 to vote on a gun control bill, a topic he was very passionate about. Lautenberg died on June 3, 2013.

    Today is May 1, 2023. I don’t know whether Feinstein’s condition is life threatening, but if she has only one more visit in her, it better be used wisely.

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  9. The thing is, Feinstein is not a victim here. She chose to run for a full six year senate term at age 85 knowing full well the restrictions on working remotely. Democrats were in the minority and this was fully in the midst of the Trump era and she knew every vote would be critical. She ran anyway.

    I haven’t been as critical of her as some but this is absolutely her fault. Just another example of political hubris.

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    • What kills me is the nerve of her (Let’s be honest, we know it’s her staff not actually her) to post proposing any legislation while she is in her 10th week of being out of work. Like we don’t care what legislation you’re proposing from your living room in California if we can’t get Dale Ho, Nancy Abudu & Julie Rikelman confirmed because you can’t show up for work.

      Just post your normal holiday post like thanking veterans on Veteran’s Day. Don’t smack us in the face acting as if your helping solve Americans problems when your 1 of 100 people that can actually vote to solve them but haven’t shown up to work in 10 weeks. I’m gonna be so angry when she finally decides to come back to work for something important like the debt ceiling votes then finds her next reason to miss some more weeks/months. Anybody in their right mind knows good & well that she will be back out again after she returns.

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    • Feinstein never said she was a victim. The problem is that you think that you are a VICTIM.

      It’s a generational thing. You are rude but don’t have any filter to know whether or not it’s wrong to pick on someone who is sick.

      When Feinstein is well enough to travel she will. Otherwise, I don’t see what you are trying to accomplish by heckling her.

      Ageism is uglier than racism.

      Liked by 1 person

      • This was (I believe) my first post criticizing Feinstein. And I was responding to Ryan’s comment that she was a victim of senate tradition.

        I had no problem whatsoever with her age until she started missing work. You’ll never hear me say a negative word about Sanders, Durbin, King, or Cardin, all of whom are 80+ or will turn 80 this term.

        Like

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