Third Circuit Finds Delaware's Judicial Balance Mandate Unconstitutional

Posted on 7 February, 2019 at 16:15

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Delaware's constitutional provision requiring that judicial nominations be split between the State's two major political parties is unconstitutional. According to Delaware Online, the federal appellate court found that the constitutional provision violated the First Amendment despite the State's claim that the provision was designed to bring balance to the judicial bench.

The law was challenged by an individual who is politically independent and "claimed he wanted to apply for judgeships, but he didn't meet the political affiliation requirements." The appellate court found that "[b]ecause the governor has not shown that [the mandate] is narrowly tailored to further a vital state interest, the infringement on judicial candidates' association rights is unconstitutional." The court reasoned that the State's aim to achieve political balance in the judiciary does not justify barring candidates who do not belong to either the Democratic or Republican parties. 

Written by:   Alexandra Siskopoulos, Esq.

Telephone:   (646) 942-1798

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Categories: Appellate Attorney News