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State of Delaware

History of Reform Efforts: Delaware

Formal Changes Since Inception

1776
The court of appeals was the court of last resort, comprised of seven justices. Each house of the legislature appointed three justices, and the "president" or governor, elected by the general assembly, presided over the court. Except for the "president," justices had life tenure. Court of common pleas judges were appointed by the president and the general assembly by joint ballot. Judges were appointed for life.

1792
Judges of all levels of courts were appointed by the governor to life terms, except for justices of the peace who were appointed to seven-year terms.

1831
Judges of all levels of courts were appointed by the governor to life terms.

1897
Judges of all levels of courts were appointed by the governor with senate confirmation. Tenure was changed from "good behavior" to twelve-year terms.

1951
Supreme court created by constitutional amendment.

1977
Governor Pierre S. du Pont, IV, established a judicial nominating commission by executive order. Each governor since that time has established a similar commission.