New Delaware Chief Justice sworn in

 (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Now Chief Justice Leo Stine took the oath of office this morning to officially take his spot as Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court.


Friends, family and members of the legal community crowded into a courtroom on the eighth floor of the New Castle County Courthouse. Some watched via video in overflow courtrooms as former Chief Justice Myron T. Steele administered the oath of office to his replacement, Leo Strine.

Strine pledged to work alongside his fellow justices to lead the state’s top court. “The only way for us to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world will be for us to continue our tradition of cooperation.” He called on the court to continue to reach out to those with expertise not necessarily in the court system, but who have a big impact on the court’s actions. 

“We must be thick-skinned enough to actively encourage and seek out constructive criticism, so that we can do an even better job,” Strine said. He also called for the top court to work in cooperation with the other branches of state government to create better working relationships.

As a newcomer to the high court, Strine asked for patience as he goes through the adjustment process and makes “rookie mistakes” while making the transition from Chancery Court to the Supreme Court. “We face many challenges as a state, and I realize very much the importance of the role that I’ve taking on. I’m honored to do it, and I recognize the responsibility.”

Flair for wit

Strine showcased some of his flair for wit after he was sworn in. Referring to those in the overflow courtroom, Strine said, “I want to give a shout out to those in the lawn seats. There’s certain advantages to being on the lawn at a concert, and we expect Capitol Police to honor your right to enjoy them.”

Strine also balanced that wit while getting a bit emotional while thanking his parents for their support and effort to teach him to appreciate American history and the rule of law. “From my early years, it was made clear to me that I was supposed to do something meaningful for my life,” Strine said. That lesson was taught in part through visits to historical sites including numerous trips to Colonial Williamsburg, Va. “It was instilled in me not only how to make vintage candles, but that the ideals in our Declaration of Independence were ones to live up to.”

Strine joined the judicial branch in 1998 as Vice Chancellor of the Court of Chancery. Prior to that, he had been chief counsel and policy coordinator for then-Governor Tom Carper. He was named Chancellor of the Court of Chancery in 2011.

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