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 Collins J. Seitz, Jr., Justice Karen L. Valihura, Chief Justice Leo E. Strine, Jr., Justice James T. Vaughn, Jr., Justice Gary F. Traynor
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 Karen L. Valihura
The Honorable Karen L. 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.
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.
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.
Justice Gary F. Traynor
The Honorable Gary F. Traynor, a Delaware native, was sworn in for his first term as Justice of the Supreme Court of Delaware on July 5, 2017. Prior to his appointment, Justice Traynor was an Assistant Public Defender with the Delaware Office of Defense Services in Sussex County, representing indigent defendants accused of felony crimes.
A member of the Delaware Bar since 1982, Justice Traynor began his legal career at the law firm Brown, Shiels & Chasanov in Dover. In 1990, he then went to work for Prickett, Jones & Elliott, where he served as the firm’s Managing Director from 2005 to 2007. While at Prickett, Jones & Elliott, Justice Traynor focused on general litigation including criminal defense, personal injury litigation and domestic relations disputes from 1990 to 2000 and complex corporate and commercial matters from 2000 until he left the firm in 2014 to join the Office of Defense Services.
Justice Traynor received his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and earned his law degree from Delaware Law School of Widener University.
Before joining the state’s highest court, Justice Traynor served on the Delaware Supreme Court’s Board on Professional Responsibility from 2011 to 2017, and was an appointed member of the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals' Task Force on Management of Death Penalty Litigation from 1998 to 2001.
In addition to his legal work, Justice Traynor was a commissioner on the Delaware River and Bay Authority from 2009 to 2014. He also served as an officer in the Delaware Army National Guard from 1990 to 1991.