Ted Kaufman - United States Senator for Delaware

Delaware's latest federal judge Leonard Stark gets warm welcome

Source: The News Journal

By Sean O’Sullivan

October 16, 2010

Delaware's newest federal judge -- Leonard P. Stark -- was sworn in Friday before an overflow audience of the state's political and legal elite.

Even Vice President Joe Biden -- fresh from a campaign event featuring President Barack Obama across the street from the federal courthouse -- dropped in to offer his congratulations and thanks to the man who is now the 25th federal judge to serve in the District of Delaware.

Biden told Stark that he recognized how he had made a financial sacrifice by choosing to serve as a judge rather than taking a far more lucrative job in the private sector.

Biden also offered brief remarks on the need for a 26th judge to fill the vacancy left by the July retirement of District Judge Joseph J. Farnan Jr., which has kept the court shorthanded, down one of four district judge positions.

The Obama administration is reviewing a list of three possible replacements for Farnan that was sent by Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., in August but has not named a nominee.

But Biden said the White House recognizes that after a more than three-year wait to fill the position now occupied by Stark, the Delaware federal court has been under a heavy strain to keep pace with a growing caseload.

"Justice delayed is justice denied," Biden said. "And justice overwhelmed is not a good formula."

Chief District Judge Gregory M. Sleet also noted that according to recent statistics, despite being one of the two smallest districts in the 3rd Circuit, Delaware has been one of the busiest with each judge carrying more than 500 cases, including some 100 patent cases. Sleet reported that he is three shy of 600.

So Sleet welcomed Stark with, "At long last, you have arrived."

A series of speakers, including Carper and Sen. Ted KAUFMAN, D-Del., also praised Stark.

Carper said as a governor and senator, he looks to nominate a judge who is bright, knows the law, treats others like they want to be treated and "is not a show horse but a workhorse."

KAUFMAN said the qualifications on Stark's résumé "jump off the page," including his background as a Rhodes scholar, graduate of Yale Law School and author, and his time as a federal prosecutor and U.S. magistrate judge.

After taking his judicial oath, with his wife and children by his side, Stark thanked a long list of friends, family and former and current colleagues.

He told the packed courtroom -- and those who were watching by closed-circuit TV in an adjacent courtroom -- "if I had the power to do it, I'd make sure that everyone here had a chance to feel like I do right now. I'm an extremely lucky man."

And in a call back to earlier comments, Stark singled out Farnan in the crowd with, "Joe, we miss you. And since I inherited your caseload, I miss you the most."

In addition to Biden and Delaware's two senators, at Stark's investiture were Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del., Gov. Jack Markell, New Castle County Executive Chris Coons, U.S. Attorney David Weiss and Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden.

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