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  • sigakingone sigakingone Jan 16, 2013 1:31 PM Flag

    In Unusual Move, Delaware Supreme Court Rebukes a Judge


    Tomorrow is one week, story from November.

    The Delaware Supreme Court issued a stinging rebuke of Judge Strine on Wednesday, criticizing him for what it said was an improper digression in an opinion. Judge Strine’s decision related to a contractual dispute but went off on an 11-page tangent about an obscure issue related to limited liability companies.
    “The court’s excursus on this issue strayed beyond the proper purview and function of a judicial opinion,” the Supreme Court wrote, adding, “We remind Delaware judges that the obligation to write judicial opinions on the issues presented is not a license to use those opinions as a platform from which to propagate their individual world views on issues not presented.”
    Famous among lawyers for his colorful opinions and courtroom meanderings — which are frequently laced with cultural references, both high and low — Judge Strine has supporters and detractors in the securities class-action bar. The Delaware Court of Chancery exerts a powerful influence on United States business because many large companies are incorporated in Delaware and litigate cases there.
    Several lawyers, none of whom would be quoted by name because they all practice before him, said it was only a matter of time before someone sought to rein him in. “I’m only surprised it took this long,” said a corporate litigator from New York who has argued cases in Judge Strine’s courtroom.

    The Supreme Court advised Judge Strine that if he wished to “ruminate on what the proper direction of Delaware law should be, there are appropriate platforms, such as law review articles, the classroom, continuing legal education presentations and keynote speeches.”

    Stephen Gillers, a professor of legal and judicial ethics at New York University School of Law, said that the court’s admonition was highly unusual.

    Tim Shaffer for The New York Times
    Leo E. Strine Jr., who is 48, was named to the Delaware Court of Chancery at age 34.
    “You rarely see this type of ruling because judges understand that a judicial opinion has a distinct and narrow function and is not supposed to be a platform for your public agenda or your broader views on the law,” he said.

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