(Senate - April 17, 2013)

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[Pages S2746-S2747]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


 Ms. MIKULSKI. Mr. President, today I rise to honor the career 
of an outstanding individual, Chief Judge Robert Bell. Judge Bell is a 
trailblazer, a stellar legal mind, and a mentor to so many. We are 
truly blessed to have had him at the helm of our State judiciary here 
in Maryland for 17 years. We honor him today for his unwavering 
commitment to justice and for his service to the people of Maryland.
  I often speak on the importance of our judges understanding and being 
connected to the public they serve and the communities in which they 
serve. Judge Bell reached the highest levels of the judiciary, yet he 
never forgot where he came from. He was raised in Baltimore and 
attended Dunbar High School, where he served as student body president 
and ran on a ticket with Reginald Lewis. He attended college at Morgan 
State University and then went on to Harvard Law.
  Judge Bell has left an enduring legacy that has been shaped by his 
life events. When he was 16 years old, he was arrested at Hooper's 
Restaurant in Baltimore because he refused to give up his seat. Judge 
Bell became the plaintiff in a landmark civil rights case that helped 
lead to the end of segregation in public accommodations in Maryland.

[[Page S2747]]

  Judge Bell learned firsthand the power of our judicial system to 
achieve justice and has committed his career to the improvement of the 
justice system. Judge Bell has served on Maryland's bench for over 37 
years and has served at each level of our State's judicial system--the 
only judge to have done so for 4 years at each level. Judge Bell 
started his legal career in 1975 as a judge of the district court for 
Baltimore City. In 1980 he moved on to the circuit court and was 
appointed to the court of special appeals in 1984. In 1991 he was 
appointed to the court of appeals, and in 1996 he was designated by 
then-Governor Glendening as chief judge of the court--the first African 
American to hold the position.
  As chief judge, Judge Bell has been committed to the education and 
continued development of our State's bench and bar. He has made it his 
priority to make sure that Maryland's legal professionals are prepared 
to tackle an ever-evolving criminal justice system and are suited to 
better serve the public. Having personally worked with him for years on 
the Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource, ASTAR, 
Program a program established by the Maryland judiciary under Judge 
Bell's leadership to help adequately prepare judges presiding over 
cases involving advanced science and medical issues I can personally 
attest to his commitment in ensuring the continued education and proper 
training of Maryland's judges. This is just one example of many like it 
that illustrate Judge Bell's commitment to the improvement from the 
Maryland judicial system. From spearheading initiatives to increase pro 
bono work in the State to implementing programs to help aid struggling 
homeowners, Judge Bell has truly been an indispensable leader in not 
only the legal community but also in the entire State of Maryland.
  Judge Bell's life and resume are a display of civic engagement, and 
his experience and service are unparalleled in the legal community and 
beyond. I am honored to recognize the extraordinary life and remarkable 
achievements of Judge Bell today.