In 2014, after Bouchard helped install his former intern as
our previous Chancellor, a National Review article tried to warn all

I implore you to carefully read the 2014 National Review
article below entitled, “The Strine Strain: Some Judges Take a Toll on
Justice.” As I’m sure you’ll remember from my articles (because no one
else will cover it), Strine was BOUCHARD’S Intern. Many Delawareans I have
talked with think this relationship is somehow OK (debatable) because it was the
other way around. I’m telling you, it is not! When they were both at Skadden
Arps, Chancellor Andre Bouchard was the big-boss-man over our Chief
Justice/Intern Leo Strine — and, as you’ll see from this article, the apple
didn’t fall far from the poisonous tree.

For those who think I am alone and whimsical in pushing for
drastic judicial reforms, with “radical ideas” such as the disclosure
of court-ordered bills as required by law, the random assigning of judges to
cases, disclosure of relationships (like Bouchard and the infamous, Kevin
Shannon of the TransPerfect case), and jury trials to put a check on the
Chancellor’s sweeping power, which are so omnipotent that they are ripe for
abuse. See the article below from The National Review in 2014. Please note, I’m
neither condoning or condemning the controversial author, but he’s obviously
highly-educated, articulate, and understands firsthand what I, and many of my
readers view plainly as a pattern of corruption by Delaware Chief Chancellor
Andre Bouchard.

He writes: 
“After Strine enthroned others in control of our companies, his
protégés enriched themselves obscenely and the companies eventually went
bankrupt, wiping out $2 billion of shareholders’ equity dispersed among average
people in every U.S. state and Canadian province.” Sound familiar, like
another victim of the infamous Bouchard-Strine two-step tango that saw the
court’s close friends at Skadden seemingly abscond with over $25 million in
fees for “undisclosed services” as was implemented by the “court-
ordered custodian” in the TransPerfect case.

When you read this, remember, this article is just about Bouchard’s Intern Strine. Bouchard was astonishingly permitted to help Strine elevate his personal career when Bouchard was on the Judicial Nominating Committee of the Bar Association. Then disgustingly, one hand washed the other, and Strine returned the favor by elevating Bouchard. Now, as I see it, the true Skadden Arps (puppet) master of enriching Delaware good ole boy cronies is now our Chief Chancellor, Andre Bouchard. God help us — absent judicial reform.


The Strine Strain

By CONRAD BLACK |  February 19, 2014 9:00 AM

Some judges take a toll on justice.

The elevation of Leo E. Strine, the chancellor in Delaware’s
Chancery Court, which is the principal corporate-law court of the United
States, to chief justice of Delaware would not normally attract much comment.
Delaware is one of the smallest and least populous states and is chiefly known
as a place of incorporation and for the historic presence of the du Pont family
and the DuPont chemical company. (Pierre S. “Pete” du Pont IV was a recent and
well-known governor.) Because Delaware became the preferred place of
incorporation as the American industrial and financial boom lifted off after
the Civil War, it has had great importance as a commercial jurisdiction. Leo
Strine — a well-connected Democrat and former aide to a Democratic governor,
current U.S. senator Thomas Carper — served 15 years on the Chancery Court,
three as head (chancellor) of it, and built a reputation that extended
throughout the corporate community of the United States and beyond, as a
sometimes controversial, outspoken, whimsical, and decisive judge.

None of these need be negative characteristics, but he is,
in fact, a hip-shooter, who fancies himself a very blithe wit and feeds on the
sycophantic laughter of counsel and their clients appearing before him. He
follows cases closely, produces verdicts and judgments promptly, and clearly
possesses a sharp intelligence, but he has periodically lapsed into discursive
speculation on irrelevant subjects, including in one instance the religious
affiliations of contending parties (without implying any bigotry, but with a
distracted concern for matters unrelated to the case). He was rebuked by the
court he will now head, when the state supreme court reminded judges not to use
their positions in trials as “a platform from which to propagate their individual
world views on issues not presented.” Strine frequently reveals himself as a
fervent sports fan and engages in popular-culture references that do enliven
his interventions and even decisions, as if to fortify his unprepossessing Mr.
Peepers appearance.

There is not really anything wrong with any of this either,
and judges could often do with a little loosening up, as they often affect
undue severity in their dickies and robes and on their elevated platforms where
they rule with almost unquestionable authority. In fact, complaints of this
kind disguise the real problem with Strine: that, while he is intelligent and
quick, he is a compulsive attention-seeker and often says injudicious things
and produces bad and unjust judgments. He, like a significant number of judges,
but more vividly than all but a few, is like a hyperactive version of F. Scott
Fitzgerald’s description of the rich drifters of The Great Gatsby: “They were
careless people. . . . They smashed up things and creatures and then retreated
back into their vast carelessness . . . and let other people clean up the mess
they had made.” As his spouting of contemporary pop-culture jargon portends,
Strine is trendy, and combines Bacon’s famously disparaged “much-talking judge”
with the contemporary description of much of the bench as “the Zeitgeist in

Readers will discern that I speak from experience. I
testified in Strine’s court at length in a case where companies controlled by
my associates and me were involved. He signaled clearly in the preliminary
meeting with counsel that he had already determined the case against us and my
counsel advised me to fold and act otherwise against our opponents. With no
optimism about the outcome of the impending trial, I concluded that that would
produce the same result with the additional appearance of cowardice on our
part, and the case proceeded. He was perfectly courteous to me as a witness and
we even exchanged a few quips and a bit of jaunty badinage, and he has
subsequently referred to me quite politely, even with the affected
comradeliness of a former adversary whom he bested. But he wrote a judgment
that did extreme damage to the interests of tens of thousands of shareholders
and was largely debunked in subsequent proceedings in various courts, including
a four-month criminal trial. After Strine enthroned others in control of our
companies, his protégés enriched themselves obscenely and the companies
eventually went bankrupt, wiping out $2 billion of shareholders’ equity
dispersed among average people in every U.S. state and Canadian province. The
faction he upheld at trial — to Strine’s professed amazement, as any indication
of his fallibility seems to amaze him — ultimately agreed to a $5 million
(Canadian) settlement of my libel suit, by far the largest such payment in
Canadian history, as part of an overall resolution, in my favor, of a complex
of related lawsuits.

I certainly cannot blame Strine alone for the fact that I
was wrongly convicted and sent to prison for three years, before the charges
that he had helped to generate were abandoned, rejected by jurors, or
unanimously vacated by the U.S. Supreme Court. Injustices occur, and given the
correlation of forces between the U.S. government (and its Canadian Quislings)
and myself, I did well to put it behind me as soon as I did. (Prosecutors were
seeking life imprisonment and $140 million in fines and restitutions, and
finally got three years and two weeks, and $600,000. And Richard Posner of the
Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, the dean of all flippantly
opinionated American judges, had to retrieve two counts to achieve even that
for the prosecution Strine effectively solicited.) I am personally
philosophical, found my time in prison quite interesting, and even enjoyed a
few aspects of it, especially helping over a hundred students to matriculate
from secondary school. It was completely unjust that I was there, but I tried
to make the best and most of it; and the world is not a rose garden for anyone.

My point is not personal bitterness toward Strine and
Posner, though my regard for them is not unlimited. My grievance is that these
two, and an appreciable number of other judges, simply bang down their gavels,
bring down resonant and histrionic decisions that are apt to be completely mistaken
and to inflict injustice, and continue in their terminal self-absorption. When
we first appeared before Posner, he seemed not even to have read our papers,
and much of his fatuous judgment that would soon be shredded by the high court
was a description, in reference to the so-called Ostrich Rule, of the habits of
the ostrich. Strine acknowledged in his judgment against us that a reasonable
person might find entirely differently, and reasonable people eventually did,
though Posner, not being in that category, was not one of them. The U.S.
Supreme Court was. But Strine and Posner and similarly wired judges just drive
on, never apparently reflecting on the impact their capricious decisions have,
or wondering if a little Solomonic deliberation might better serve society or
even enhance their ultimate reputations as jurists.

Posner, at least, was frustrated in his ambitions to reach
the highest court; he blamed this on his advocacy of legalized marijuana,
though such brainwaves as his proposal to make the adoption of children
straight financial auctions might have had something to do with it. He has, in
his irritation, taken to public criticism of the U.S. Supreme Court, sometimes
justly. But his complaint that the justices of that court interrupt counsel too
much is a bit rich; at our first appearance before him, though my counsel was a
very respected former deputy solicitor general of the United States, Posner
allowed him to complete only 15 percent of the sentences he initiated. His
manner was querulous, antagonistic, and boorish. Justice Scalia called him a
“liar,” and in our case he was censured by the whole Supreme Court, in a
judgment written by Justice Ginsburg, for “the infirmity of invented law.” No
doubt he has had his moments, but he has been drinking his own bathwater for
decades and he must subside soon.

Strine, who is approximately 50, cannot possibly imagine that his career ends in the highest court of the dollhouse state of Delaware. Both judges should wear bells on their heads like medieval lepers to warn the unsuspecting of their approach. They are a menace, not because of lack of ability, but because of helpless thralldom to their own self-worship. Strine claimed in his confirmation hearings that he wished to fortify Delaware’s status as America’s premier corporate jurisdiction. Doing so will require a miraculously successful lobotomy or the greatest revelation since Zechariah was struck dumb in the Temple. Failing such astounding developments, corporate America should decamp, to other countries, and certainly to other states, as Delaware will pay for his elevation.

— Conrad Black is the author of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom, Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full, A Matter of Principle, and the recently published Flight of the Eagle: The Grand Strategies That Brought America from Colonial Dependence to World Leadership.