Brushing aside unproven allegations that she may have lied about her sexual orientation on Army personnel forms nearly two decades ago, the Maryland Senate confirmed the nomination of Baltimore City District Judge Halee F. Weinstein by a wide margin yesterday.
A potentially ugly fight never materialized over the qualifications of Weinstein, who is gay, in part because Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. told lawmakers this week that he supported the nomination.
"I sent a message and let it go through my messengers," Ehrlich said. Weinstein was nominated by Ehrlich's predecessor, former Gov. Parris N. Glendening, who selected her last year.
Also yesterday, a majority of senators voted to delay the confirmation of state police Superintendent-nominee Edward T. Norris until at least Friday, the second postponement in the past five days.
African-American senators are troubled that Norris has played a role in delaying the approval of a settlement in a lawsuit charging that state police have engaged in racial profiling during traffic stops.
Sen. Lisa A. Gladden of Baltimore, who asked for the most recent delay, said that a resolution could come tomorrow, when administration officials and black lawmakers are to meet to discuss the profiling case.
"I would support changes [to the settlement] that are nonsubstantive," Gladden said. "We are going to meet. There is movement."
Two groups of senators asked Friday to postpone decisions on Weinstein and Norris until this week, pending questions on their backgrounds and recent histories. Both had received early approval from the Executive Nominations Committee.
Sen. Alex X. Mooney, a Frederick Republican, asked that Weinstein's application be returned to the nominating committee to consider a fresh question: whether she lied on Army forms that asked her to list her sexual preference.
Mooney distributed blank forms to senators that he said were in use in the 1980s, which required an answer for sexual orientation. Homosexuals were turned away at the time. He didn't present Weinstein's records yesterday.
"Clearly the nominee falsified [information] in order to gain entrance to the military," Mooney said. The nomination was approved by a 38-4 vote, with five abstentions.
Including Mooney, the senators voting against Weinstein were Andrew P. Harris of Baltimore County, and J. Robert Hooper and Nancy Jacobs, both of Harford County. Not voting were Sens. David R. Brinkley of Frederick County, Larry E. Haines of Carroll County, Janet Greenip of Anne Arundel County, and J. Lowell Stoltzfus and Richard F. Colburn, both of the Eastern Shore. All those who voted no or abstained are Republicans.
Weinstein has refused to comment on the allegation.