Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Maryland’s Court of Appeals

As a general rule, the term “court of appeals” identifies the intermediate court in a judicial hierarchy. Most lawyers learn early on of an exception to that rule: the New York Court of Appeals is that state’s highest court, i.e., what in other states is denominated the state “Supreme Court.” To make things even more confusing, New York calls its statewide trial-court system the “Supreme Court.”

What I didn’t recall—what I either never learned or, more likely, simply forgot—until reading yesterday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Comptroller of the Treasury of Maryland v. Wynne is that Maryland’s highest court also is called the Court of Appeals. Per Wikipedia, no other states join New York and Maryland in this nomenclature.

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