Delaware: 11 out of 21 senators cosponsor constitutional amendment to require “geographic balance” on state Supreme & Chancery courts

Judges of the Delaware Supreme and Chancery Courts are currently allowed to reside from any of the three counties that make up the state (Kent, New Castle, Sussex). That may change under a constitutional amendment introduced and co-sponsored by all 9 Senate Republicans and 2 Democrats (Bushweller & Ennis).

SB 46 would amend state’s constitution to provide that at least 1 justice or chancellor reside in each of the state’s 3 counties.

Seventh, so as to ensure traditional geographic balance within the judiciary, the Supreme Court and the Chancery Court shall at all times each include within their membership at least one member resident of each of the three counties at the time of their appointment and at least 2 years immediately prior thereto.

Delaware’s Supreme Court has 5 justices, and the state’s Chancery court has 5 chancellors, so each county would get at least 1 justice and chancellor and could get as many as 3. Florida’s constitution has a similar provision for that state’s supreme court based on appellate districts rather than counties.

The supreme court shall consist of seven justices. Of the seven justices, each appellate district shall have at least one justice elected or appointed from the district to the supreme court who is a resident of the district at the time of the original appointment or election.

SB 46 has been assigned to the Senate Executive Committee.