Judicial Officers

Supreme Court Justices

The Supreme Court consists of a chief justice and four justices who are nominated by the Governor and confirmed by the Delaware State Senate.

The justices are appointed for 12-year terms and must be learned in the law and citizens of Delaware. Three of the justices must represent one of the major political parties while the other two justices must be members of the other major political party.

As pictured: Justice James T. Vaughn, Jr., Justice Randy J. Holland, Chief Justice Leo E. Strine, Jr., Justice Karen L. Valihura, Justice Collins J. Seitz, Jr.

Chief Justice Leo E. Strine, Jr.

Chief Justice Leo E. Strine, Jr.

The Honorable Leo E. Strine, Jr. was sworn in as Chief Justice on February 28, 2014, having previously served as the Chancellor of the Court of Chancery since June 2011 and as Vice Chancellor since 1998. Chief Justice 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. He also serves as the Special Judicial Consultant to the Corporate Laws Committee of the American Bar Association. Before joining the Court of Chancery, Chief Justice Strine was Counsel to Governor Thomas R. Carper. Before his position with Governor Carper, Chief Justice 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.

Chief Justice 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 Harry S Truman Scholar and a Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute.

Justice Randy J. Holland

Justice Randy J. Holland

The Honorable Randy J. Holland is the youngest person to serve on the Delaware Supreme Court, having been recommended to the Governor by a bipartisan merit selection committee. Prior to his appointment and confirmation in 1986, Justice Holland was in private practice as a partner at Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell. In March 2011, he was reappointed by Governor Markell and unanimously confirmed by the Senate for an unprecedented third twelve-year term.

Justice Holland graduated from Swarthmore College. He also graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, cum laude, where he received the Loughlin Award for legal ethics. Justice Holland received a Master of Laws in the Judicial Process from the University of Virginia Law School.

Justice Holland is the past national President of the American Inns of Court Foundation. He co-chairs the advisory committee to the National Center for State Court’s Center for Judicial Ethics. Justice Holland is a member of the American Law Institute. He chaired the American Bar Association National Joint Committee on Lawyer Regulation. Justice Holland has also served on the ABA Presidential Commission on Fair and Impartial Courts, the Standing Committee on Client Protection and the Judicial Division's Ethics and Professionalism Committee.

Justice Holland has received numerous awards, including the 2014 American Inns of Court Powell Award for Professionalism and Ethics, 2012 First State Distinguished Service Award, and the 2011 Dwight D. Opperman Award. In 2004, he was elected to be an Honorable Master of the Bench by Lincoln's Inn in London. Chief Justices Rehnquist and Roberts appointed Justice Holland as the state judge member of the Federal Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Appellate Rules.

Justice Holland has written, co-authored, or edited nine books: Magna Carta: Muse & Mentor (2014), Delaware's Destiny Determined By Lewes (2013); Delaware Corporation Law, Selected Cases (2011 Chinese (Taiwan) only); State Constitutional Law, the Modern Experience, co-author (West 2010, 2015); Middle Temple Lawyers and the American Revolution, co-author (Thomson-West 2007); Appellate Practice and Procedure, co-author (West 2005); The Delaware Constitution: A Reference Guide (Greenwood Press 2002, Oxford Press 2016); Delaware Supreme Court: Golden Anniversary (2001), co-editor; and The Delaware Constitution of 1897 ‐ "The First One Hundred Years", co-editor. He has also published several law review articles, primarily dealing with judicial ethics and legal history.

Justice Holland stepped down from the Bench on March 31, 2017.

Justice Karen Valihura

Justice Karen Valihura

The Honorable Karen Valihura was sworn in for her first term as Justice of the Supreme Court of Delaware on Friday, July 25, 2014. Chief Justice Leo E. Strine, Jr., administered the oath of office.

Prior to her appointment to the Supreme Court, Justice Valihura was a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP, where she practiced law since 1989. Her practice in complex commercial and corporate issues included federal and state securities fraud claims, mergers and acquisitions, and fiduciary duties of directors. Due to her preeminence in the field, Justice Valihura has been consistently selected for inclusion in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business and The Best Lawyers in America.

Justice Valihura served on the Advisory Board of the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance and served as Chair of the Delaware Supreme Court's Board on Professional Responsibility and as Chair of the Delaware Supreme Court’s Permanent Ethics Advisory Committee on Delaware Rules for Professional Conduct. Justice Valihura served for eight years on the Corporation Law Council of the Corporation Law Section of the Delaware Bar. Additionally, Justice Valihura served her community as a member of the Board of Directors for the Delaware Special Olympics for eighteen years and as a member of the Delaware Bar Foundation for eight years.

Justice Valihura received her undergraduate degree from Washington and Jefferson College in 1985, and her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She served as a law clerk to Judge Robert E. Cowen of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Justice James T. Vaughn, Jr.

Justice James T. Vaughn, Jr.

The Honorable James T. Vaughn, Jr. was appointed Resident Judge in Kent County of the Superior Court of Delaware on October 28, 1998; President Judge of the Superior Court on October 12, 2004; and Justice of the Supreme Court on October 29, 2014.

Justice Vaughn received his B.A. from Duke University in 1971 and his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1976. Following admission to the Delaware Bar in 1976, he returned to Dover to practice general civil and criminal law in the firm of Vaughn and Vaughn. In 1988 he became a member of the firm of Schmittinger and Rodriguez in Dover.

While in private law practice, he served as an associate member of the Board on Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court of Delaware, president of the Kent County Bar Association, and vice-president of the Delaware State Bar Association.

Justice Vaughn is a member of the Kent County Bar Association, Terry-Carey American Inn of Court (President 2011-2013) and The Randy J. Holland Workers' Compensation American Inn of Court. He served as a judicial member of the Joint Bar/Bench Committee on Civility and as a member of the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee.

Justice Vaughn is a U.S. Army veteran.

His term ends October 29, 2026.

Justice Collins J. Seitz, Jr.

Justice Collins J. Seitz, Jr.

The Honorable Collins J. Seitz, Jr. was sworn in as Justice of the Supreme Court of Delaware on April 14, 2015. Prior to his appointment, Justice Seitz was a founding partner of Seitz Ross Aronstam & Moritz LLP. Before founding Seitz Ross, Justice Seitz was a partner of Connolly Bove Lodge & Hutz LLP in Wilmington Delaware.

A member of the Delaware Bar since 1983, Justice Seitz served as a board member and chair of the Board of Bar Examiners, and a board member of the Board on Professional Responsibility. Both federal and state courts often appointed Justice Seitz as a Master and Trustee to oversee complex corporate, commercial and intellectual property cases. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Justice Seitz received his undergraduate degree from the University of Delaware and his law degree from the Villanova University School of Law.