Letter calls for governor to consider diversity in Supreme Court nomination

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A  letter from the Multicultural Judges & Lawyers Section of the Delaware State Bar Association, the South Asian Bar Association of Delaware, the Delaware Hispanic Bar Association, and the Delaware Barristers Association is calling for ethnic and racial diversity in considering selections for the Delaware Supreme Court.

A copy of the letter was sent out by Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware, a group  pushing an agenda that includes more diversity on the high court. Chief Justice Leo Strine is stepping down, a move that will create a vacancy.

The group’s actions have come under attack from State Bar Association President William Brady, who claims that the group is a front for disgruntled litigant Philip Shawe who remains upset with Chancery Court over the battle for the translation services firm.

The group drew the ire of the Bar when it launched attack adds against Chancellor Andre Bouchard.  

September 26, 2019

The Honorable John Carney 
Governor of the State of Delaware 
Carvel State Office Building 
820 N. French Street, 12th Floor 
Wilmington, DE 19801

Re: Appointment to the Delaware Supreme Court 

Dear Governor Carney:

On behalf of the Multicultural Judges & Lawyers Section of the Delaware State Bar Association, the South Asian Bar Association of Delaware, the Delaware Hispanic Bar Association, and the Delaware Barristers Association, we urge you to consider racial and ethnic diversity when making the next appointment to the Delaware Supreme Court. Specifically, we strongly encourage you to take diversity into account when considering the composition of the Delaware Supreme Court. 

The mission of our respective organizations is, in part, to support the interests of attorneys, judges and members of the community from diverse ethnic backgrounds. We are dedicated to cultivating and improving diversity in the legal field. Advocating for increased diversity and inclusion strategies within our profession, including those that affect our highest court, is, collectively, one of our highest priorities. 

As we are sure you know, a diverse bench is important for maintaining public trust and confidence in the judiciary and our elected officials. We acknowledge that Delaware’s Supreme Court has made strides with respect to diversity related to gender, socio-economic background, political affiliation, and practice areas. We must note, however, that since its inception in the State Constitution of 1792, the Delaware Supreme Court has never included a person of color. The minority population of our state is approximately 38%f, making Delaware one of the most racially diverse states in the country. Yet, our highest Court fails to reflect the diversity of the communities it serves, as well as the individuals and businesses that appear before it. 

In July 2019, you penned an Op-Ed for the Delaware News Journal highlighting the “progress on the issues Delawarecares about” since you became Governor in 2017. Like those issues, the racial makeup of the highest court in our state is absolutely an issue that we, and you, should care about. Since Chief Justice String announced his retirement there have been several articles that discuss this issue. We call upon you as our Governor, who represents all of the people of our state, and is the appointing authority for judges in Delaware, to ensure that the highest State Court becomes racially and ethnically diverse. There is no shortage of well-qualified candidates of color. Now is the time. 

If you would like to set up a meeting to further discuss this issue, we welcome the opportunity to dialogue on this matter. 

Respectfully yours,

Kiadii S. Harmon 
Chair, Multicultural Judges & Lawyers Association of the DSBA

Faiz Ahmad 
President, South Asian Bar Association of Delaware

Tabatha L. Castro 
President, Hispanic Bar Association 

Oderah C. Nwaeze 
President, Delaware Barristers Association”

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