November 6, 2013

Four Apply for Delaware Supreme Court’s Chief Justice Gig

Here’s news from yesterday’s “Delaware Law Weekly“:

Supreme Court Justice Carolyn Berger, Superior Court President Judge James T. Vaughn Jr., Superior Court Judge Jan R. Jurden and Court of Chancery Chancellor Leo E. Strine Jr. are the four applicants to become Delaware’s next Supreme Court chief justice, according to sources familiar with the process. All applications for the chief justice opening had to be filed with Delaware’s Judicial Nominating Commission by noon today.

Supreme Court Justice Jack B. Jacobs, who was said to be applying as recently as last week, did not apply, according to sources. Justices Randy J. Holland and Henry duPont Ridgely, who were both considered early favorites to for the opening, also did not submit applications. The JNC will undergo the process of reviewing the four applications and will likely begin checking references later this week, according to sources.

Strine is viewed as an early favorite because of his impeccable corporate law background. He was appointed Chancery Court chancellor in 2011 after serving as a vice chancellor for 13 years. He also serves as the special judicial consultant to the American Bar Association’s corporate laws committee. Strine was a corporate litigator at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and was counsel to former Gov. Thomas R. Carper.

Gov. Jack Markell is also said to be favorable to Jurden because of the diversity she would bring to the court as both a female and open lesbian. Berger also has a strong corporate law background, having served on the Chancery Court from 1984 until her appointment to the Supreme Court in 1994. She also served as an associate at Skadden Arps and a deputy attorney general for the Delaware Department of Justice.