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On April 25, Chancellor William B. Chandler III of the
Delaware Court of Chancery formally notified the Governor today that he is resigning
before the completion of his current term. (Pictured to the left is the
Chancery Courthouse in Georgetown where the Chancellor maintains his
is a recent article with a retrospective of His Honor's many years on the
Delaware bench. Here
is the article in today's News Journal by Maureen Milford.
Delaware court- watchers are aware that the process
to fill the figurative "big shoes" of the "chief judge" of
the Court of Chancery will be as follows:
(1) The Judicial Nominating Commission
(JNC) will interview applicants for the position and then send the
Governor a list of proposed names of persons they selected and from which
(2) the governor usually makes his appointment--though he has the power to
appoint someone not on the JNC's list, or he can ask the JNC to send him a
new list. (3) Then the Delaware Senate either confirms or rejects the
Also, if a sitting vice chancellor on the court decides
to apply for the job, and is elevated (via the appointment process) to the
position of Chancellor, then there will be two vacancies. One created by the
Chancellor's resignation and one created by the vice chancellor who might be
chosen to fill Chancellor Chandler's spot. One final note: The regular
session of the Delaware Senate ends on June 30. Unlike the many years that have
passed while the U.S. Congress continues to allow the local U.S. District Court
to endure at least one vacancy, the history of judicial selection in Delaware
supports the conventional wisdom that any vacancy (or vacancies) on the
Delaware Court of Chancery will be filled promptly by some person who will be
selected by the JNC, appointed by the Governor, confirmed by the Delaware
Senate and installed on the court by the end of the regular legislative session
on June 30.
In the unlikely event, however, that
this relatively short timetable is not met, I am willing to predict that a
special session of the Delaware Senate will be convened in short order after
June 30 to get the job done based on the acknowledgement by everyone in
Delaware (and many outside the state) that the Delaware Court of Chancery is
too important to the well-being of too many facets of the Diamond State not to
have a full bench of five members.
Professor Stephen Bainbridge, one of the country's most
respected and prolific experts on corporate law, comments on today's
announcement here. Professor
Larry Ribstein, an nationally-reknowned expert on alternative entities, writes here
about the Chancellor's impact on that aspect of Delaware law.
P.S. Yours truly was quoted for stories on this
topic by reporters who called today from The
Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg
The ABA Journal's online version covers the story here. Broc
Romanek at DealLawyers.com writes about it here.
UPDATE: The formal
notice from the JNC is available here,
requiring submissions by May 13, and referring to the potential for a sitting
member of the court to apply for the Chancellorship. The application itself for
aspiring members of the bench is available here.
Read more Delaware business
litigation case summaries and commentary on Delaware
Corporate and Commercial Litigation Blog, a blog hosted by Francis G.X.
Pileggi, of Fox Rothschild LLP.
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