The Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith has sent a letter to the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities complaining about remarks made by Prince George's County Circuit Judge James Magruder Rea at a hearing in January.
Edward Leavy, director of the D.C.-Maryland regional office of the ADL, said transcripts of the hearing, during a consumer-relations case brought against Woolco stores, show Rea remarked that "Jewish people have a thing: You never pay retail, always pay wholesale."
Leavy said transcripts showed the judge made a similar remark during the same case the next day.
Rea, 58, who became a judge in District Court in 1969 and a Circuit Judge four years ago, would not comment. Several lawyers who practice regularly before the judge, including several Jewish lawyers, said they did not believe him to be anti-Semitic.
Leavy said his organization received about five telephone calls complaining of the judge's remarks after they were mentioned during a television broadcast on the Woolco suit.
Leavy said the decision to complain to the commission was made by the league's law committee, consisting of about 40 lawyers. There was no indication any of the committee members knew Rea or had practiced before him, Leavy said.
"I don't know what is in his heart," Leavy added. "but the perception is that he has some sort of animus towards Jews."
Leavy called Rea's remarks "inappropriate and out of order". He said Rea "should come forward and apologize, and maybe that would be that."