The Maryland Court of Appeals has declined to hear a case challenging the validity of petitions collected to place a term limits proposition on Montgomery County’s Nov. 8 ballot.
Friday’s order by the state’s highest court exhausts the legal remedies available to opponents of Question B. The proposed charter amendment would limit the county executive and members of the County Council to three four-year terms.
A group headed by former Rockville Town Council member Tom Moore (D) argued that many of the 18,000 signatures gathered by Question B proponents were incomplete or did not meet other technical requirements. Evidence produced by Moore and lawyer Jonathan Shurberg included petition sheets in which dates next to some signatures were filled in by someone other than the signer.
Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Robert Greenberg ruled against Moore and Shurberg on Sept. 21. They asked the Court of Appeals to hear the case immediately and bypass the Court of Special Appeals, which is usually the next rung on the judicial ladder.
Question B opponents argue that term limits restrict the ability of voters to make their own decisions about whether to retain officeholders. Republican activist Robin Ficker, of Boyds, who spearheaded the petition drive, contends that term limits are needed to curb the power of an entrenched incumbent class in the county, one that has raised taxes and voted itself pay raises.