Orthodox Woman Appointed To District Court


district-court-marylandFor nine years, Judge Karen Friedman has served her city on the bench of the Orphan’s Court. On Friday afternoon, the calling got bigger, much bigger. The Judge, a beloved figure in the Jewish community and¬†across the city and region, received a phone call from Governor Martin O’Malley.

Calling her by her Hebrew name, the Governor said, “Chaya, this is Martin O’Malley. “I am calling to appoint you as a Judge to the District Court of Baltimore City.” With the appointment, Judge Friedman will be leaving the decisions of probate and moving into judicial arenas that include criminal law.

“It’s a new challenge and a new adventure,” she said. The Judge will also be making history as the area’s first appointed judge from the Orthodox community to the District Court. “I’m proud to appoint Karen Friedman to the District Court,” said Gov. O’Malley on Sunday evening, “adding to the variety of strong, highly qualified, and diverse voices we’ve added to the bench over the past four years. Karen’s experience in Baltimore offers her a unique perspective on the challenges she’ll face in the District Court. I’ve long been personally impressed by her professionalism and impartiality on the bench.”

Judge Friedman said that the appointment is also representative of the “wonderful progress” of the state, city and nation that an Orthodox person can achieve such important positions at all levels of government.

It presents new challenges with people learning about Sabbath and holiday nuances, she said with a smile in her voice.

“I’ve known Chaya for almost 20 years both as a close friend and a colleague,” said attorney Nathan Willner, an officer of the Baltimore Jewish Council and legal counsel for Shomrim. “She has a keen intellect and a sharp legal mind. As an attorney who practices in the District Court on a daily basis, her work ethic, integrity and ability to move cases will be a great addition to the Court. As far as I know she is the first Orthodox female judge ever appointed to the District Court and it demonstrates the Governor’s responsiveness to our community and the influence our community has throughout the state. She will truly be an asset to the citizens of Baltimore City.”

Read more at the Baltimore Jewish Times.

{Baltimore Jewish Times/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. A Jew is forbidden to judge other Jews based on secular law or outside a duly constituted bais din. Will this judge recuse herself on cases involving Jewish parties to the case?

  2. One should be aware that Martin O”Malleys recent appointment was done in the name of craven political expediency,and I am sure that Orthodox Jews will have the good sense to realize that before they cast their vote in the upcoming election

  3. The picture you have associated with this article is that of the Federal Court House which houses the United States District Court. Judge Friedman was appointed to the District Court of Maryland for Baltimore City.