ACTING GOV. BLAIR LEE III has made an excellent choice in his appointment of Rita C. Davidson of Montgomery County to Maryland's Court of Appeals. It is a noteworthy "first." Judge Davidson is the first woman appointee in the 200-year history of the state's highest court. More important is the record of high preformance that Judge Davidson brings to the job, not only as a judge on the Court of Special Appeals-Maryland's second highest court-but also as an attorney and public servant at the local and state levels.

Gov. Lee has said that, of all the exceptionally highly qualified nominees he considered for the judgeship, Judge Davidson "is unsurpassed among them in terms of scholarship, intellectual capacity and breadth of experience." In addition to her years of practice in the District of Columbia and Montgomery County, Rita Davidson served as a zoning hearing examiner at a time when extremely valuable county land cases were under consideration-and she succeeded in winning the respect of developers as well as neighborhood organizations. She also was a member of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and then head of the state's Employment and Social Services (now Human Resources) Department. It was in this last cabinet post (another woman "first") as well as on the bench that Judge Davidson won notice as a strong advocate of defendants' rights, expecially the right to a speedy trial.

Her latest appointment is subject to approval by the state senate. We trust that won't be a problem.