Frederic N. Smalkin

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Frederic N. Smalkin
Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland
Assumed office
January 8, 2003
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland
In office
September 26, 1986 – January 8, 2003
Appointed by Ronald Reagan
Preceded by James R. Miller, Jr.
Succeeded by Richard D. Bennett
Personal details
Born (1946-05-21) May 21, 1946 (age 68)
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Awards Meritorious Service Medal, Oak Leaf Cluster
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Rank Captain

The Honorable Frederic N. Smalkin is a Retired Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland[1] and is currently an Instructor at the University of Baltimore School of Law. He was awarded the James A. May award for excellence in teaching and mentoring.[2]

Judge Smalkin also has served as Chairman of the Maryland Governor's Emergency Management Advisory Council and is a Brigadier General in, as well as the former Commanding General of, the Maryland Defense Force,[1] and served as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Civil Air Patrol, the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary.[1] He was also a Captain in the United States Army.[1]

Childhood and education[edit]

Judge Smalkin was born in Baltimore, Maryland.[1] His father, Richard, had risen to become a prominent attorney in Baltimore County, serving as President of the local Bar Association and as one of the first Judges of the People's Court for Baltimore County, before his death in 1958.

The younger Smalkin graduated from McDonogh School and received a B.A. from The Johns Hopkins University, Phi Beta Kappa. Following in his late father's footsteps, he graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law, earning his J.D. and was made a member of the Order of the Coif for graduating first of his class.[2]

Military service[edit]

Judge Smalkin put himself through college and law school with a set of Army ROTC scholarships. He served as an officer in the U.S. Army from 1968 until his honorable discharge, in 1976, earning the Meritorious Service Medal with an Oak Leaf Cluster and achieving the rank of Captain.[1] Judge Smalkin served in the Ordnance Corps with a detail to the Judge Advocate General's Corps, as Assistant to the General Counsel of the Army, and was appointed Recorder of the Army Contract Adjustment Board.[3] He later became a rated pilot and Lieutenant Colonel in the Civil Air Patrol, and was awarded its Distinguished Service Medal. He was commissioned in the Maryland Military Department and later promoted Brigadier General and appointed by the Governor as commander of the Maryland Defense Force (State Guard). Upon relinquishing command of the Defense Force, he was awarded the State of Maryland Distinguished Service Cross.

Professional career[edit]

Judge Smalkin began his career in public service as Law clerk to then-Chief Judge Edward S. Northrop, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.[2] He was subsequently admitted to the Maryland Bar, having reportedly achieved that year's highest score on the Maryland bar exam.[citation needed]

Before entering senior status, on January 8, 2003, Judge Smalkin served as Chief Judge, from October 20, 2001 to January 6, 2003. He had been on the bench since 1976, having begun his career as a United States Magistrate Judge at the early age of 30 years. He received a "promotion," of sorts, on December 1, 1986, when he was invested as a United States District Judge.[1] He retired to senior status in 2003 and retired fully in 2011. He is now a mediator and arbitrator with the dispute resolution firm JAMS (alternative dispute resolution). [4]

Notable cases[edit]

Two controversial cases stand out from the many that Judge Smalkin heard during his thirty years on the bench. First was his 1987 decision which overturned the conviction of Marvin Mandel, who succeeded Spiro Agnew as Governor of Maryland, for mail fraud and racketeering. Smalkin applied a Supreme Court decision—handed down after Mandel's conviction—which held that the mail fraud statute under which Mandel was convicted did not apply to cases of government corruption. United States v. Mandel, 672 F.Supp. 864 (D.Md. 1987).

The second, and perhaps more notorious, case was Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc. v. Glendening, in which Judge Smalkin held that the Maryland Department of Motor Vehicles could not deny the local Sons of Confederate Veterans a "vanity" license plate bearing a confederate flag, because to do so would infringe their right to free speech, in violation of the First Amendment. Sons of Confederate Veterans v. Glendening, 954 F.Supp. 1099 (D.Md. 1997).

Academic and professional associations[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "MARYLAND & THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT". Maryland State Archives. 11 Sep 2006. Retrieved 12 May 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c "Faculty". Retrieved 12 May 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Judge Frederic N. Smalkin". Retrieved 12 May 2011. 
  4. ^ "Hon. Frederic N. Smalkin (Ret.), Biography". 
  5. ^ "2014 SGAUS Officers". State Guard Association of the United States. Retrieved 28 August 2014.