"Oral argument is the only opportunity the justices have to question, in person, the attorneys representing litigants about issues raised in their briefs.
The appellant usually presents its argument first with an opportunity to reserve part of the allotted time for rebuttal. Each side has 20 minutes to argue its case before a three-justice panel of the Court and 25 minutes before the en Banc (five member) Court.
The justices usually sit in panels of three Justices to decide most cases, but they may also sit en Banc if a panel is unable to reach a unanimous decision, if a death sentence is being reviewed, or in certain other instances. On occasion, a justice may enter a disqualification in a case because of a prior connection to the case, a conflict of interest or other customary reasons for recusal. When this happens, a judge from the Court of Chancery, the Superior Court, or a retired Justice can be appointed to sit with the Court.
After Oral Argument
The justices hold a conference on each case after oral argument (they do not normally discuss the merits of a case before argument). At this time, the justices may take a tentative vote on how the Court should resolve the case. The voting proceeds in reverse order of seniority. Final opinions and orders of the Court must be in writing. The Chief Justice or the head of the panel if the Chief Justice is not assigned to the case, assigns the case to a justice to write the opinion or order. When the draft is complete, the authoring justice circulates it privately among the other justices for review and comment.
Once an opinion is completed and approved by a majority of the justices, it is filed with the Clerk of the Supreme Court or a deputy clerk. The attorneys are notified and the opinion is released to the public. Opinions of the Delaware Supreme Court are published in the Atlantic Reporter and the Delaware Reporter published by West Publishing Company. As a service to the public, Supreme Court final opinions and orders are posted on this web site. The site also includes court forms, rules, and photographs and biographies of current justices.