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Former Supreme Court Justice Randy Holland, 75

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Former Supreme Court Justice Randy Holland, 75
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The Delaware Judiciary announced that retired Supreme Court Justice Randy J. Holland died on March 15. He was 75.

“The Delaware judiciary mourns the loss of one of our greatest public servants,” said Chief Justice Collins J. Seitz, Jr. who served with Holland from 2015 to 2017. “Randy Holland served on the Delaware Supreme Court for over 30 years. He wrote cogent and authoritative opinions in all areas of the law that have withstood the test of time. He championed the highest ethical standards for Delaware lawyers and judges. As president of the American Inns of Court, he worked to further its nationwide mission to improve the skills, professionalism, and ethics of the bench and bar. Most recently, he chaired a court committee to work on bail reform in domestic violence cases. What Justice Randy Holland will be most remembered for is his kindness, humility, and graciousness, and his personal notes written with a blue felt tip pen. The Supreme Court will recognize this giant of a man in a future event. His family will be in our prayers.”

Holland was appointed and reappointed to the Delaware Supreme Court by three different Governors and served with four different Chief Justices during his tenure on the bench. At his appointment to the Supreme Court in 1986 by Governor Mike Castle, Holland became the youngest person ever to serve on the state’s highest court and went on to also become the court’s longest-serving justice at his retirement in March 2017. Throughout his 30 years on the bench, Justice Holland wrote more than 700 reported opinions and several thousand orders.

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“This is a tremendous loss for our state. Justice Holland was a true public servant and a steady source of wisdom on Delaware’s Supreme Court for more than three decades. He had a deep knowledge of the Constitution and Delaware’s unique history. His books on the Delaware Constitution have served as a guide for countless public officials in our state. And I have personally sought his counsel many times during my time in office,” said Gov. John Carney.

“Delaware just lost one of its true servants,” said former Chief Justice Leo E. Strine, Jr., who served with Justice Holland from 2014 to 2017. “No one loved our state or its bar more than Justice Holland. Through his dedication to the judicial craft, his fostering of bench-bar relations through the Inns of Court movement, his preservation of our state’s history, and his concern for the most vulnerable of litigants – particularly the children served by our Family Court – Randy made our state a better place and burnished its reputation as a legal center of excellence. We will miss his friendship and are profoundly sorry for his family’s irreplaceable loss.”

Holland was known as not only an expert on state constitutional law but also as an avid historian of Delaware and the Delaware Supreme Court. He authored or co-authored ten books, including two books on the Delaware Constitution, two histories of the Delaware Supreme Court, and a History of the Delaware Bar in the Twentieth Century in addition to many law review articles.

Holland was recently in the news when he was asked to advise the Delaware General Assembly on Constitutional matters following the indictment of State Auditor Kathryn McGuiness on felony and misdemeanor charges related to her conduct in office. McGuiness’ trial is scheduled for May. It is believed that McGuiness, who continues to serve in office and deny the charges, is the first statewide office-holder to be indicted.

“Justice Holland was a great and historic jurist of the Court,” said former Chief Justice E. Norman Veasey, who served with Justice Holland from 1992 to 2004. “Indeed, he was a quintessential and intellectual jurist, with an extraordinary grounding in the law and a marvelous sense of fairness and equity. He was the longest-serving justice in the history of the court, having been sworn to the Court as the youngest justice in the history of the Court in 1986. He was appointed to three 12-year terms on the Court from his investiture and served thirty years until he retired from the Court in February 2017. Not only was he historically long-serving as a jurist but also he was an extraordinarily gifted and scholarly writer, having authored or co- authored nine books and treatises as well as innumerable articles. Above all, he was a warm and noble human being – a truly good man in all respects. He was devoted to his wife of 50 years, Dr. Ilona Holland, their son, Ethan, daughter-in-law, Jen, and their granddaughters, Rori and Chloe. He will be missed in ways we have not begun to fathom by all who knew him, worked with him, and admired him.”

Justice Holland graduated from Swarthmore College and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he received the Loughlin Award for legal ethics. He later earned a Master of Laws in Judicial Process from the University of Virginia Law School and was awarded honorary Doctor of Law degrees by the Delaware Law School and Swarthmore College.

Holland taught corporate governance, appellate practice, and state constitutional law and frequently focused on business ethics. He traveled internationally to advance corporate governance and ethics including working with the justice system in Taiwan. On several occasions, he hosted visiting delegations from Taiwan to Delaware.

After leaving the Delaware Supreme Court, he became Senior of Counsel in the Wilmington office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. In 2018 the Randy J. Holland Family Law Endowment was created in his honor for the Combined Campaign for Justice to fund a full-time fellowship position to serve the family law needs for low-income families.

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