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 December 20, 2022

Justice James T. Vaughn Jr. to retire from the Delaware Supreme Court

It looks like the Delaware Supreme Court will favor Democrats for a long time to come.

Delaware Supreme Court Justice James T. Vaughn Jr. announced last week that he intends to retire from his seat on the state's high court, the Delaware Business Times reported.

The state justice has served roughly 8.5 years of his appointed 12-year term. His retirement is expected to go into effect on May 1, 2023. Justice Vaughn is one of five Supreme Court justices in Delaware.

The judge spent a quarter-century serving on the bench.

"It has been an honor and a privilege to serve since 1998 as a Superior Court judge and Supreme Court Justice. I will always appreciate the memories of working with my colleagues on the bench and with court staff in our efforts to maintain the rule of law in this state," Justice Vaughn wrote in a letter to the governor.

He added: "I leave with a sense of satisfaction that I have done my best to discharge the duties of the judicial offices I have held."

Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) will now have the ability to fill Vaugh's vacancy with the almost guaranteed selection of a Democrat.

The Delaware Business Times noted:

Carney has already nominated Gary Traynor to the Supreme Court to replace Justice Randy Holland in 2017. He then elevated Justice Collins J. Seitz Jr. to the chief justice seat after the resignation of Leo Strine Jr. and nominated then-Vice Chancellor Tamika Montgomery Reeves to the high court to fill Seitz’s seat in 2019.

The situation gets interesting, however, as Reeves, who was appointed to fill Seitz's seat a few years back, has been tapped by the Biden administration to fill a federal circuit court role.

Should that happen, it would give Gov. Carney the opportunity to appoint two justices to the state's high court.

Delaware's state Supreme Court is different than most due to the fact that Delaware hosts the most business incorporations anywhere in the United States due to its business-friendly state laws.

The Delaware Business Times explained:

Over 1 million businesses, including half of all publicly traded companies and more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies, are incorporated in Delaware due to its business-focused equity court, the Court of Chancery, where specialized judges rather than juries rule on corporate disputes. The state Supreme Court hears all appeals from the Court of Chancery and has long set precedent in the world of corporate governance.

Justice Vaughn also happens to be the son of longtime State Sen. James T. Vaughn Sr.

Written By:
Ryan Ledendecker

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