The Honorable Joseph T. Walsh
Former Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court Joseph T. Walsh passed away peacefully surrounded by family on August 15, 2014. He was 84 years old. Justice Walsh was a native Wilmingtonian having grown up at 2330 Pine Street as the second of six children born to second generation Irish immigrants, Joseph Patrick and Mary Bolton Walsh. He is survived by his wife, Madeline Lamb, to whom he was married for 60 years, and their 6 children, 16 grandchildren, and 5 great grandchildren.
Justice Walsh practiced law in Wilmington, Delaware from 1958 to 1972. He was first appointed to the bench as an associate judge of the Superior Court in 1972 followed by an appointment as a vice chancellor on the Court of Chancery. On September 30, 1985, he was appointed Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of Delaware by Governor Ruth Ann Minner. He was reappointed in 1997 and retired from his position in April 2003. While on the Court, he authored over 300 opinions in areas of civil, criminal and corporate law. After leaving the bench, Justice Walsh joined McCarter & English as Special Counsel until 2010. He also served as an adjunct professor at Widener School of Law, earning an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1976. Additionally, Justice Walsh was a director of the Einstein Institute for Science, Health and the Courts and frequently authored articles and lectured on the legal implications of genetic science. He was also co-founder of the Annual Rubenstein-Walsh Seminar in Professionalism and Ethics.
Justice Walsh was a tireless advocate for equal access to justice for all Delawareans and co-founded the Carpenter-Walsh Delaware Pro Bono American Inn of Court. He received numerous awards during his judicial career for his outstanding service to the community, including the Order of the First State, the highest state government honor, which he received in 2003 from Governor Ruth Ann Minner.
“I was privileged to get to know Justice Walsh when I was a very young Counsel to the Governor and he was Chairman of the Courts' Long-Range Planning Committee. It would be difficult to identify a better role model. Despite being such a distinguished judge -- heck, he was on Chancery for barely a year and decided both Moran and Revlon! -- he was entirely about the mission, and not himself. A regular guy in the best sense of that term whose contribution to the cause of justice and commitment to those in need was extraordinary.”— Supreme Court Chief Justice Leo E. Strine, Jr.
“Justice Walsh embodied all of the exemplary qualities that are wanted in a jurist during his long and distinguished service on the Superior Court, the Court of Chancery and the Delaware Supreme Court. It was my honor to appear before him in all three courts when I was an attorney and to serve with him on the Delaware Supreme Court for 18 years. He established the gold standard for Delaware judges. Throughout his professional life he was a tireless advocate for indigent parties and established the first Pro Bono American Inn of Court to provide free legal services. I have no doubt that the Delaware Bench and Bar will continue to be inspired by his example for many years to come.” — Supreme Court Justice Randy J. Holland.
The Judiciary honors and recognizes the many contributions to the court system and the State of Delaware of one of its distinguished members.