John J. Connolly

Publications Website

I am a Maryland lawyer and an occasional writer on legal and other issues. This site collects articles and commentary I have published and self-published in my personal capacity over the years. Views expressed in these articles are solely my own and do not constitute legal advice.

Last update: October 14, 2022

Submit comments to

2022-10-13 JJC Rodowsky Memorial.pdf

In Appreciation: Lawrence F. Rodowsky

October 14, 2022

A remembrance of one of the leading lights of Maryland law for 60 years. First published on October 14, 2022, in the Bar Library Advance Sheet.

2022-02-22 The Baltimore Sun Apologizes.pdf

Sorry About the Last 185 Years

The Baltimore Sun Apologizes

February 22, 2022

My take on the Baltimore Sun's apology for nearly two centuries of racial news coverage.

2022-02-12 The Public Disciplinary Complaint (blog post).pdf

The Public Disciplinary Complaint

What happens when attorney disciplinary complaints are made public before the investigation ends or, in some cases, even begins?

2021-04-07 rip court of appeals of maryland.pdf

Pointless Rant on the Changing Name of our High Court

Wherein I rise in support of "Court of Appeals of Maryland" -- the name, not the institution. (To be clear, this piece is classified as humor.)

2021-02-13 REFORMAT Racial Laws in Maryland and What They Mean for Me.pdf

Black History Month Contribution

February 15, 2021

This article considers legislation a border state enacted during the slavery era for the purpose of subjugating its Black residents, whether free or slave. The article postulates that these anachronistic laws reveal modern truths about racial discrimination; in particular, the ruling class’s capacity for rationalizing the immorality of slavery and racial oppression by promulgating laws and official state practices that were by turns cruel, petty, petulant, patronizing, incoherent, and absurd. The state’s laws at the time reflect the white populace’s broad belief that Great Britain created Maryland’s racial problem by forcibly transporting indigenous Africans to a land where they could not compete with whites, and that the problem would be solved only when the descendants of those slaves returned to Africa. All this is presented from the perspective of a modern white male Maryland lawyer who has never experienced racism. The article closes with a reflection on the author’s family history.

2020-03-06 In Defense of Judicial Elections.pdf

In Defense of Judicial Elections (Mar. 2020)

The bench, the bar, and the academy don't much like judicial elections, while legislators and the public are not so sure. Would the framers of the Maryland constitutions have anything to add to the debate?

2020-01-30 Great Misdemeanors (version 3).pdf

The Maryland Constitution and Federal Impeachment (Feb. 2020)

Does the Maryland Constitution have anything to say about whether the federal Impeachment Clause requires "criminal-like" conduct? Not much, I think, but read the article and let me know.

2020-01-22 Oath of Office Article Take 2 (for jjc website).pdf

Is Maryland's Oath of Office Intentionally Subversive of Federal Authority? (published January 21, 2020, in Baltimore Bar Library newsletter).

All Maryland state officials must take an oath that was written in 1867, two years after the Civil War ended. Do officials know what obligations they are undertaking? Do I? Read the article and let me know.


2018-04-02 FINAL Republican Press at a Democratic Convention (publication version 1).pdf
Reports of the debates at the Maryland Constitutional Convention of 1867 from a progressive newspaper, with annotations and commentary by the author.
Maryland Constitution at 150 (FINAL reduced file).pdf
A look at how the Maryland Constitution is faring on its 150th birthday. Preview only; full book available from the Baltimore Bar Library.


The Subpoenaed Lawyer (FINAL).pdf
The Subpoenaed Lawyer (November 2019). A checklist of considerations for lawyers who receive demands for client information.
One Satisfaction Rule Version 2.pdf
UCATA and the One Satisfaction Rule (May 2019). An odd decision from Maryland's high court that is difficult to reconcile with one line of state precedent.
Judicial Disabilities Commission Part II.pdf
Does Maryland Need More Oversight of Judges? (December 2017). Commentators often complain that it's too hard to discipline judges. There's a reason for that.
Mothers and Doubt (final with photo reduced).pdf
Mothers and Doubt (August 2017). Personal reflection about growing up in a non-dysfunctional family.
Delay and Secrecy in Judicial Disciplinary Cases (final).pdf
Delay and Secrecy in Judicial Disciplinary Cases -- Case Study (March 2017). Does Maryland's judicial disciplinary system work for judges? For the public?
2017-02-21 Judicial Disabilities Commission Article Revision.pdf
Courts and Courtesy (February 2017). How aggressively should disciplinary authorities enforce civility among judges?
Maryland Voting Law.pdf
Drop the phone, voter, and come out with your hands up (November 2016). Democracy in the age of the "ballot selfie."
My Speech to the Medical School Graduates (local).pdf
My speech to the medical school graduates (January 2016). Never solicited. Never delivered.
AGC v Stanalonis (illustrated-corrected).pdf
Mud on the Robe. Case study of the probably useful difficulty in policing speech in judicial elections.
You Cant Say That in Court (local).pdf
My Undistinguished Adversary. Disciplinary enforcement of civility in legal writing.
Maryland Riot Act.pdf
Is Baltimore City Liable for Riot Damage? Published immediately after the Freddie Gray riots.
Peaceless Protest and Maryland Law.pdf
Can the Governor of Maryland Suspend Habeas during a Riot? (May 2015). Over Henry Archer's dead corpus.
With Malice Toward Some.pdf
With Malice toward Some (March 2014). Case study on free speech for lawyers.
Prayer for Dishonest Lawyers.pdf
A Prayer for Dishonest Lawyers (March 2014). Is disbarment appropriate for every lawyer who commits an act of dishonesty?
Answered Prayer.pdf
An Answered Prayer (for Dishonest Lawyers) (February 2015). Maybe not.
Welcome to Maryland.pdf
Welcome to Maryland (Oct. 2014). A look at the governor's emergency powers during contagion.
Closing Argument.pdf
The closing argument. Personal reflection on Father's Day 2006.
Incompetent Self Representation 3.pdf
The Right to Have a Fool for a Client (October 2014). Can an attorney be disciplined for incompetent self-representation?
Cert Granted.pdf
Bobby Chen's Trumpet (November 2014). How a pro se plaintiff not named Clarence Earl Gideon got the Supreme Court to accept his case. (Update: he stopped participating and the Court dismissed his case.)
Consider Your Verdict (reformat).pdf
Consider Your Verdict (February 2014). Due process on appeal in the context of a disciplinary case.
Sleeping with the Enemy Executive.pdf
Sleeping with the Enemy Executive (October 2013). Can your employer fire you for a romantic relationship with a competitor?
Represent Yourself.pdf
How to represent yourself in the Court of Appeals. An exception to the rule that pro se lawyers have fools for clients.
Reasonable Particularity in Indictments Against Child Abusers.pdf
"Reasonable Particularity" in Indictments against Child Abusers (from Maryland Law Review 1991)
Marylands Right of In Banc Review.pdf
Maryland's Right of In Banc Review (from Maryland Law Review 1992). Why does Maryland have this peculiar trial-level "appeal"?
Great Purposes.pdf
Great Purposes. Legal history through art mystery.
Delay and Secrecy in Judicial Disciplinary Cases (final).pdf

Links to other articles