Judicial selection in Delaware

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Judicial selection in the states
Judicial selection in Delaware
Seal of Delaware.png
Delaware Supreme Court
Method:   Comm. select., Gov. appt., legislative confirmation
Term:   12 years
Delaware Superior Court
Method:   Comm. select., Gov. appt., legislative confirmation
Term:   12 years
Delaware Court of Chancery
Method:   Comm. select., Gov. appt., legislative confirmation
Term:   12 years
Delaware Family Court
Method:   Comm. select., Gov. appt., legislative confirmation
Term:   12 years
Delaware Court of Common Pleas
Method:   Comm. select., Gov. appt., legislative confirmation
Term:   12 years

Judges in Delaware are selected using the method of commission-selection, political appointment. Before taking office, judges must be confirmed by the Delaware General Assembly. The Delaware Constitution specifies that no more than the bare majority of judges of each court may be members of the same political party. The geographic basis for selection is statewide.[1]

Judicial Nominating Commission

The state of Delaware, since the year of 1977, has established, by an executive order, a judicial nominating commission that identifies very qualified candidates for judicial appointments. The current commission operates in agreement with the Executive Order Number 4[2], and applies to the appointment of all judges on the Supreme, Superior, Chancery, and Family courts, as well as the Court of Common Pleas, and to the appointment of the Chief Registrar of the Justice of the Peace courts. The magistrate screening committee is then used for the Justice of the Peace courts for all of the associate magistrates of the justices.

The judicial nominating commission is composed of only eleven members. The first ten members are appointed by the governor, the members including at least 4 lawyers and 4 non-lawyers. The Delaware State Bar Association's president nominates, with the consent of the governor, the eleventh member of the commission, who will then be appointed by the governor. It is the governor who designates the chairperson of the commission. All commissioners serve a staggered three year terms. They may be reappointed by the governor, and no more than six commission members may belong to the same political party at the time of their appointment.[1]

Appointed Term Duration

Justices appointed to the Supreme, Superior, and Court of Chancery are in term for 12 years. Judges, after 12 years, are retained by gubernatorial reappointment through the judicial nominating commission with the senate's consent.[1]

Qualifications

The most necessary qualifications to become a judge on the supreme court is being a state resident, being "learned in the law," as well as being a state bar member. To become a judge on the superior court and the court of chancery, one must be a state resident, have a law degree, be "learned in the law," and be a state bar member.[1]

History of the Court

  • Amendments to the State Constitution and Acts by Legislature

In 1831, judges of all levels of the courts were appointed by the governor to life terms. It wasn't until 1897 that judges of all levels of the courts were appointed by the governor with the senate's confirmation. The tenure was changed from "good behavior" to 12 year terms. Following that was the supreme court being created by constitutional amendment in 1951. In 1977, the governor Pierre S. du Pont, IV established the judicial nominating commission by executive order. All governors since then have established a very similar commission.[3]

See also

References