BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Judge Matthew J. Fader has been sworn in as the chief judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals, the highest court in the state.

Gov. Larry Hogan shared photos from the ceremony and said he was appointing Judge E. Gregory Wells to replace Fader as chief judge for the Court of Special Appeals, making him the first African American to hold the position in the state’s intermediate appellate court and the first openly LGBTQ person to serve as chief judge of either appellate court.

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“I am proud to designate Judge Fader and Judge Wells to preside over the state’s highest courts,” Hogan said in a statement. “They are both highly respected and experienced jurists who serve with distinction and an unwavering dedication to the law.”

Hogan appointed Fader to the Court of Special Appeals in 2017. Prior to that, he filled various roles in the Maryland attorney general’s office from 2010 to 2017, including chief of civil litigation. He served as a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice from 1999 to 2002 and practiced at K&L Gates LLP from 2002 to 2010.

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh tweeted, “Matt Fader will be an outstanding Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals.”

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Outgoing Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Joseph M. Getty, who met the requirements for mandatory retirement, released a statement congratulating Fader.

“The Maryland Judiciary, especially the Court of Appeals, is experiencing a generational change,” said Getty. “It is our shared duty to embrace this change and lay a foundation for the future. It is exciting to have new leaders engaged in the many challenges we face today.”

Wells served as a judge in Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s counties before being appointed to the Court of Special Appeals in 2019.

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Hogan’s office said he has made 163 judicial appointments as governor.

CBS Baltimore Staff