Delaware’s U.S. Senators were pleased by the nomination of their recommended candidates Colm Connolly and Maryellen Noreika to serve on the U.S. District Court for Delaware.
Since May there have been two vacancies on the four member court after Judge Gregory Sleet and Sue Lewis Robinson moved to less active roles as senior judges. Taking senior judge status is a form of quasi-retirement where judges have smaller caseloads and no longer take up a permanent seat on the court. Lewis Robison officially retired over the summer.
That left two vacancies on the four judge district court which is well known for the large number of patent and commercial cases heard by the court. The court also has broad jurisdiction over the large number of bankruptcy cases that are tried in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.
Senator Tom Carper, D-Delaware, said picking the right people to be on Delaware’s district court is more important than in other states because of the court’s role in business litigation. “Given the role that we play here in corporate business and the economy of the country, these jobs are enormously important.”
Carper and Sen. Chris Coons had recommended Noreika and Connolly for the court earlier this year. Connolly rose to fame as one of the prosecutors on the Tom Capano murder trial in the 1990s. Capano was convicted of killing then-Governor Carper’s scheduling secretary Anne Marie Fahey. Connolly also served as U.S. Attorney for Delaware under President George W. Bush.
In February 20008, Bush appointed Connolly to the same judgeship he’s now being nominated for, but the Senate never acted on that appointment.
“Delaware’s courts are renowned for their judges’ expertise,” Carper said. “Maryellen Noreika and Colm Connolly are highly-respected, sought-after attorneys who have displayed a vast knowledge of the law and a thorough understanding of the courts during their extensive careers.”
Noreika is a partner at the Wilmington law firm of Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell where she’s been for nearly 24 years. She started her career in corporate and commercial disputes and later focused on intellectual property cases and more complex federal litigation. Connolly was also once a partner at the same firm.
“I’m pleased that the White House consulted with Senator Carper and me and accepted our recommendations for the U.S. District Court bench,” Coons said. “I am confident they will both be capable jurists, and I look forward to their confirmation hearings.”
Coons and Carper have disagreed with a number of other nominations the Trump administration has made, but Carper said he’s glad the President went along with their recommendation for these positions. “We’re happy that this administration has actually listened to Democratic senators and was willing to send us a couple of good nominations to the Senate.”