Governor Markell Recognizes Chief Justice Steele at the Conference of Chief Justices
Steele, Delaware Governor Jack Markell gave a luncheon address at the Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ)'s Annual Meeting on July 30, 2013 in Burlington, Vermont. The CCJ is comprised of the top judicial officer of each state, commonwealth, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. This year's CCJ annual conference focused on "Collaborative Justice: Interbranch Relations in the New Century." Governor Markell spoke about the importance of collaboration among the judicial, executive and legislative branches of government. In his comments, he praised Chief Justice Steele's "unsurpassed dedication, passion and judgment" and thanked him for "building and maintaining…the finest state judiciary in the nation." He noted that while the Chief Justice "is someone who knows that the strength of our courts depends on their independence…., he is also someone who knows that independent branches of government do not exist in silos; and that in the real world the different branches of government work best when they work together."
Acknowledging Chief Justice Steele's leadership on a national level and his position as President of CCJ and Chair of the National Center for State Courts' Board of Directors from August 2012 through August 2013, Governor Markell remarked that:
"A judiciary is only as good as the men and women who serve in it — and quite simply, Chief Justice Steele is as good as they get….He is a tireless and forceful advocate for our state's judiciary and, indeed, for the entire State of Delaware."
Referring back to the February 11, 2013 shooting at the New Castle County Courthouse, the Governor noted the fact that the crisis united all branches of government in Delaware " state employees of all types worked together to provide support and assistance to each other and the public. Since February, the three branches of government have combined efforts to ensure that adequate funding and resources are provided to enhance court security statewide. Citizens do not compartmentalize "government" into its different branches when they use government services and, he stated, the branches of government must work in tandem to provide critical services to its citizens. The Governor pointed to various collaborations in Delaware to illustrate the benefits that flow from inter-governmental collaborations " the Delaware Justice Reinvestment Initiative, problem-solving courts (e.g. Drug Court, Mental Health Court, Gun Court), and changes to corporate laws. Governor Markell concluded that the three branches of government have an obligation to respect "each other's independent role in the democratic process, while working together to earn the people's trust…our ultimate obligation is to give the people we work for a fair chance to make the most of their abilities."