M & A Law Prof Blog

Editor: Brian JM Quinn
Boston College Law School

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Candidates for the latest Supreme Court vacancy

This from Delawareonline

Six men, including three current or former judges, have applied for the vacant seat on the Delaware Supreme Court following the recent retirement of Henry du Pont Ridgely, according to sources close to the judicial nominating process.

The applicants for the state's highest court include Superior Court judges William L. Witham Jr and Calvin L. Scott Jr.; former Superior Court Judge Joseph R. Slights III; Collins J. Seitz, Jr. a founding partner of Seitz Ross Aronstam & Moritz LLP; Martin S. Lessner, a partner at Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor; and John R. Williams, a lawyer in the Delaware Department of Justice appeals unit, the sources said.

Seems unfortunate that we have apparently exhausted the supply of female and minority candidates for this court.  In any event, this pick will be Delaware Governor Markell's opportunity to temporarily put a stamp on this court. Under the Delaware constitution, the courts are required to be politically balanced with an equal number of Republicans and Democrats.  However, in cases where the court is odd numbered, like the Supreme Court, the Governor is permitted to appoint the swing member from his own party affiliation.  In this case Ridgely is a Republican, but since there are already two sitting Republicans and two sitting Democrats, Markell is free to appoint a Democrat to replace Ridgely.  I am not sure how many other states follow Delaware's lead with balanced judicial appointments but I like the way it lessens the political stakes involved in judicial selections.  If the US Supreme Court followed the same process we might all be better off. 

-bjmq

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