On Wednesday, Delaware Governor Jack Markell nominated Chancellor Leo Strine of Chancery Court to become chief justice of the state’s Supreme Court. Assuming Strine’s nomination is approved, Chancery Court is going to be a much less colorful place. Strine is a legal mastermind – with an unpredictable and outspoken judicial demeanor. Occasionally, his off-tangent courtroom riffs have landed him in trouble. In 2012, for instance, Strine said he regretted comments he made during a hearing involving fashion entrepreneur Tory Burch in which he asked her attorney if Burch is Jewish and compared her dispute with her former husband to a “drunken WASP-fest.” Strine was also gently chided last year by his future colleagues on the Delaware Supreme Court for using judicial opinions to express his “world views.”
My Reuters colleague Tom Hals has been covering Strine in court for years. Unfortunately, the chancellor has repeatedly declined to sit down for a formal interview with Reuters. So to celebrate his nomination, we’ve constructed an imaginary Q&A. Well, partly imaginary. We’ve made up the questions, but all of Strine’s “answers” are verbatim quotes – albeit out of context – from his courtroom comments or opinions.
Reuters: You’re well known for your work as a judge. But tell us a bit about you as a person.
Strine: I’m a guy who likes a good party.
Reuters: And something of a pop music aficionado as well?
Strine: You don’t realize, although I may strike you as amazingly undisciplined in some ways, I am incredibly disciplined in others.
Reuters: I actually thought you were the disciplined type, to be honest. But you also have less-guarded moments, like that episode in that Burch hearing. Do you care to discuss your own faith? Do you take strength from your religious upbringing?