Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Chancellor Strine Nominated for Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court

As the Conglomerate, M&A Law Prof Blog, and WSJ have reported, Chancellor Leo Strine, Jr. has been nominated by Delaware Governor Jack Markell for the Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court position.  The official announcement is here, courtesy of Brian Quinn.

Chancellor Strine's office was just a few feet from mine when I clerked for former Vice Chancellor Stephen Lamb, and I can confirm that Chancellor Strine is every bit as colorful and witty as his opinions suggest.  Chancellor Strine (then a Vice Chancellor and called "VCS" by the clerks) is also the only judge (other than my own) that I chose to watch in action while in Delaware.  

My former co-clerk wonders, on Twitter, why Chancellor Strine would even want this job, as his current position as Chancellor arguably gives him more direct influence over the course of corporate law.  As Chancellor, he not only gets a more steady dose of corporate cases, but also is the sole author of those cases.  As Chief Justice, he will have to share the pen, and will hear plenty of non-corporate cases.  My guess is that Strine will enjoy having a hand in shaping the controlling precedent handed down from the Delaware Supreme Court, and perhaps this is a precursor to an even more prestigious position.

Finally, I agree with Gordon Smith that Larry Hamermesh would make an excellent new Chancellor (if Professor Hamermesh is interested in the job), or a new Vice Chancellor, with one of the current Vice Chancellors stepping into the Chancellor role.  Among the current Vice Chancellors, my judge's replacement, Vice Chancellor Travis Laster, is probably the most academic, has been called "Strine on Steroids" and could be in the running.

Update:  Andre ("Andy") Bouchard is rumored to be an early favorite to replace Strine, though Andy Bouchard did not respond to a request for comment in the Reuters article.  Some of my friends in Delaware tell me that VC Laster is an extremely unlikely successor; I knew Laster was controversial, but so was/is Strine.

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