Posted: June 13, 2016
UPDATE: JACK'S JUDGES
By Celia Cohen
Ask not how many judges Jack Markell appointed. The list is too long. Ask how many judges he did not appoint. The list is short and getting shorter still.
Markell struck again last week with two nominations for openings on the Family Court.
It does not leave much in the way of judges who fell outside of Markell's reach by the time he finishes up his two terms as the Democratic governor in January.
Delaware's court system has 58 judges. For now, there are only 12 un-appointed or un-reappointed without Markell's say so. This, even though judges get terms that last three times as long as a governor's, 12 years for a judge and four for a governor.
Markell's latest nominations, subject to confirmation by the state Senate, went to Janell Ostroski and Louann Vari, both proposed for promotion to judge from their current posts as commissioners, which are lesser judicial officers handling routine matters on the Family Court.
Ostroski would replace Jay Conner, retiring after 34 years with the court in New Castle County, and Vari would take over from William Nicholas, retiring after 24 years in Kent County.
The departing judges and the nominees are all Republicans, in keeping with the constitutional requirement for political balance in the judicial system. Confirmation hearings are set for June 29, according to Meredith Tweedie, the governor's chief legal counsel.
Much of Markell's judicial streak came about after Myron Steele departed as chief justice in 2013 and a cascade of early retirements, promotions and derivative vacancies followed.
Markell is not quite done. The term of William Walls, a Family Court judge, is up in September. It will nudge Markell's record to naming an extraordinary 80 percent of all the state's judges.
Source: Governor's Office of Boards & Commissions