Two bipartisan groups, one of former Delaware governors and one of former chief justices of the Delaware Supreme Court — as well as 17 legal scholars nationwide — filed separate legal briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting Gov. John Carney’s position in Carney v. Adams that Delaware may legally maintain constitutional provisions that protect its vital interest in a nonpartisan judiciary.
Last month, Carney asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review and reverse a lower federal court decision striking down longstanding provisions of the Delaware Constitution requiring political balance on the Delaware judiciary. A decision from the Supreme Court on whether to hear the case is expected by late 2019 or early 2020.
“Delaware’s judiciary has a longstanding reputation as objective, stable and nonpartisan,” said Carney. “That is largely thanks to the wisdom of those who wrote the Delaware Constitution. They understood the importance of keeping partisan politics out of Delaware’s courts, which are widely respected nationwide for their excellence and garner tremendous respect from our citizens and members of the Delaware Bar. I believe it’s more important now than ever to protect Delaware’s balanced judiciary, and we look forward to the U.S. Supreme Court considering our petition.”
One of the briefs supporting the governor’s position was filed by the previous five governors of Delaware — Jack Markell, a Democrat; Ruth Ann Minner, a Democrat; Thomas Carper, a Democrat; Dale Wolf, a Republican; and Michael Castle, a Republican. Former Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justices Myron T. Steele, a Democrat, and E. Norman Veasey, a Republican, filed a separate brief also in support of Carney’s petition.
The third brief filed in support of Carney’s petition was submitted by 17 law professors from across the country with experience in the fields of American constitutional law, corporate law and Delaware practice and procedure.
Carney is represented in the case by Stanford Professor and former judge Michael McConnell; former Delaware Supreme Court Justice Randy Holland; Steffen Johnson and Brian Levy, all of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, P.C.; and by David McBride, Martin Lessner, and Pilar Kraman of Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP.