Who Is Leo Strine?
Leo Strine is a former Supreme Justice on the Delaware Supreme Court, retiring his career in 2019. In Leo Strine’s earlier years, he attended A.I. DuPont High School, graduating in 1982. After graduating high school, Leo Strine attended the University of Delaware for his Bachelor’s of Arts Degree and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, graduating magna cum laude and earning his Juris Doctorate in 1988.
After clerking for various judges in the state of New Jersey, Leo Strine became a corporate litigator at the controversial law firm Skadden Arps. Following his time at Skadden, he became Counsel to Governor Thomas R. Carper, who is now serving as Senator of Delaware. Strine became the Vice Chancellor of the Delaware Court of Chancery in November 1998. In 2014, Leo Strine became the Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court. He served in this position until 2019. During his time serving on the Delaware Court of Chancery Strine’s corruption quickly became evident.
Why is Leo Strine Controversial?
Leo Strine was heavily chastised by the Delaware Supreme Court for a controversial opinion he wrote while, unsurprisingly, serving on the corrupt Delaware Court of Chancery. The decision in question was about a contractual dispute, but Strine wrote an extra 11 pages on the topic of limited liability companies – a matter completely unrelated to the decision. The Court reprimanded Judge Strine stating, “We remind Delaware judges that the obligation to write judicial opinions on the issues presented is not a license to use those opinions as a platform from which to propagate their individual world views on issues not presented.” Judge Strine took advantage of – and inappropriately used – his platform as the Chief Judge to push his own agenda and opinions.
That isn’t the only time Judge Strine was criticized for remarks he made as Judge. He described a case between famed fashion designer Tory Burch and her ex-husband Christopher Burch as a “drunken Wasp fest” and inquired about the religion of the disputing parties – an irrelevant and inappropriate question. Legal Ethics Professor Stephen Gillers said that a judge asking about religion “could compromise the public’s confidence in the impartiality and integrity of the judiciary.” He further stated: “Asking about religion, in my mind, is way off base. it’s certainly not legally relevant, and a judge certainly wouldn’t do that with race or sexual orientation.”
Of course, his most widely known act of controversy was Strine’s dismissal of TransPerfect’s appeal against the forced sale ruled by Andre Bouchard
, Chancellor of the Delaware Chancery Court. This move was cited as being so extreme, it had the potential of harming Delaware’s reigning status as the state with the most incorporated businesses.
When speculation began that Strine would run for Governor of Delaware, it was this very questionable decision he needed to distance himself from if he were to have a chance at winning.
Key Facts about Leo Strine:
More about Leo Strine:
- Strine was given the opportunity to make right by a privately held and thriving business; instead he upheld the grossly misguided decision by his protege, Andre Bouchard.
- The case of Ingres Corp. v. CA Inc. portrays another instance of Leo Strine’s outlandish corruption. Strine himself commented on this case saying, “I forgot this oral statement and delved only into the voluminous record. As indicated above, this record was confusing and I came away from it with the wrong impression.I overlooked this deposition testimony and instead focused upon the written documents in the record when drafting the Post-Trial Opinion. In short, I blew it.” Despite this admission, he upheld his ruling. His ruling was so outrageous, both sides of the case agreed the judge made a mistake.
- Leo Strine is currently Of Counsel at Wachtel Lipton, a New York based law firm.