The Enduring Value of Judges Being Judges with The Hon. Leo E. Strine, Jr.
May 6, 2013 5:30pm - 7:30pm
In this year’s Marshall Small Lecture, Leo Strine, Chancellor of Delaware's Court of Chancery, takes to task judges who cut litigants slack by excusing them from following clear procedural rules, who “make stuff up,” who substitute the judiciary’s policy preferences for the legislature’s, who “imply duties that are not set forth in carefully constructed contracts,” and who abandon “judicial discipline in the form of a desire to deliver a result in a particular case.”
As Chancellor Strine explains, “[s]ituational justice is not equity, it is the palliative, the breakfast mush of the timid justice unwilling to do the hard work of equity….” The Chancellor further cautions that “the last five years have seen a number of eyebrow raising decisions that seems to involve judges willing to advance their policy preferences over the determinations of duly-authorized legislative or administrative agencies…. The policy whim of a momentary judicial majority is not justice, it is caprice and the opposite of equity.”
The Honorable Leo E. Strine, Jr. was confirmed as Chancellor of the Court of Chancery on June 22, 2011, having previously served as a Vice Chancellor since 1998. Chancellor Strine also has long-standing positions as the Austin Wakeman Scott Lecturer in Law at the Harvard Law School, Senior Fellow at the Harvard Program of Corporate Governance, and Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania and Vanderbilt University Law Schools. He also serves as the Special Judicial Consultant to the Corporate Laws Committee of the American Bar Association. Before joining the Court of Chancery, Chancellor Strine was Counsel to Governor Thomas R. Carper. Before his position with Governor Carper, Chancellor Strine served as a corporate litigator at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and as law clerk to Judge Walter K. Stapleton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and Chief Judge John F. Gerry of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
Chancellor Strine graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and received his Bachelor’s Degree summa cum laude from the University of Delaware. He was selected as a Henry S Truman Scholar and a Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute.