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Editor: Brian JM Quinn
Boston College Law School

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Delaware Supreme Musings

So...what? You think you know who is going to get nominated to fill Chief Justice Steele's soon to be empty seat? Ha. You know nothing.  Want some informed speculation, beyond, "Well, it's Strine, right?" then go here to the Delaware Grapevine.  You'll get tidbits like this:

For now, there is no telling who will be next to assume the Supreme Court's center seat.

Within the state's legal circles, it would not be seen as a surprise if all four justices apply. Other names being mentioned are: Leo Strine Jr., the chancellor from the Court of Chancery; Jim Vaughn Jr., the president judge of the Superior Court; and Jan Jurden, a Superior Court judge.

Or even better, insight like this that might really inform who gets the nod:

All eyes are primarily on Leo Strine Jr., the chancellor on Chancery, and Jan Jurden, a judge on the Superior Court, as the major contenders for chief justice, although the field easily could include any or all of the justices, the presiding judges of other courts and various senior partners, particularly the ones with corporate law practices.

Strine is as aggressively brilliant as Jurden is logistically grounded, his Slytherin to her Gryffindor.

Before they were judges, they did a turn in the political trenches, Strine as the counsel to Tom Carper, when the Democratic senator was the governor, and Jurden as an officer for the New Castle County Democratic Party.

They practiced at firms known as incubators for judges, Strine at Skadden, the out-of-state behemoth, and Jurden at Young Conaway Stargett & Taylor, the homegrown powerhouse.

Strine has been through a cutthroat confirmation war already. Carper wanted to make him a vice chancellor in 1998, but Strine as his counsel was not known for suffering fools, and this attitude was perhaps not the best approach for dealing with the legislature, kind of known as a ship of fools. There were hard feelings.

Strine did get confirmed, but not before Carper agreed to name one senator's son a judge and another senator's nephew a Family Court commissioner.

Jurden had no such trouble when Ruth Ann Minner, the Democratic governor, put her on the bench in 2001. All she had hanging out there were the editorial cartoons drawn by Jack Jurden, her father. Her confirmation went easily.

It's cheaper than getting on the Acela and probably much better informed than what you'll hear in the Club Car.

-bjmq

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