United States District Court for the District of Delaware

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United States District Court for the District of Delaware
(D. Del.)
Appeals toThird Circuit
EstablishedSeptember 24, 1789
Chief JudgeColm Connolly
Officers of the court
U.S. AttorneyDavid C. Weiss
U.S. MarshalMichael C. McGowan

The United States District Court for the District of Delaware (in case citations, D. Del.) is the Federal district court having jurisdiction over the entire state of Delaware. The Court sits in Wilmington. Currently, four district judges and five magistrate judges preside over the court.

Because Delaware is the state of incorporation for most major U.S. corporations, the District of Delaware hears and tries many patent and other complex commercial disputes that must be heard in federal court for diversity of citizenship reasons, and hears many appeals from bankruptcy disputes which are filed with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

Appeals from the Court are heard by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which sits in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).

The current United States attorney for the District of Delaware is David C. Weiss since January 22, 2018.


The court was one of the original 13 courts established by the Judiciary Act of 1789, 1 Stat. 73, on September 24, 1789. From its establishment until 1946, the court had a single judge. A temporary additional judgeship was authorized on July 24, 1946, by 60 Stat. 654, and was made permanent on September 5, 1950, by 64 Stat. 578. A third judge was authorized on February 10, 1954, by 68 Stat. 8, and a fourth on July 10, 1984, by 98 Stat. 333.

Current judges[edit]

As of September 1, 2022:

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
26 Chief Judge Colm Connolly Wilmington 1964 2018–present 2021–present Trump
25 District Judge Richard G. Andrews Wilmington 1955 2011–present Obama
27 District Judge Maryellen Noreika Wilmington 1966 2018–present Trump
28 District Judge Gregory B. Williams Wilmington 1969 2022–present Biden
17 Senior Judge Joseph J. Longobardi inactive 1930 1984–1997 1989–1996 1997–present Reagan

Vacancies and pending nominations[edit]

Seat Prior judge's duty station Seat last held by Vacancy reason Date of vacancy Nominee Date of nomination
4 Wilmington Richard G. Andrews Senior status December 31, 2023[1] Jennifer L. Hall July 11, 2023

Former judges[edit]

# Judge State Born–died Active service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 Gunning Bedford Jr. DE 1747–1812 1789–1812 Washington death
2 John Fisher DE 1771–1823 1812–1823 Madison death
3 Willard Hall DE 1780–1875 1823–1871[Note 1] Monroe retirement
4 Edward Green Bradford DE 1819–1884 1871–1884 Grant death
5 Leonard Eugene Wales DE 1823–1897 1884–1897 Arthur death
6 Edward Green Bradford II DE 1848–1928 1897–1918 McKinley retirement
7 Hugh M. Morris DE 1878–1966 1919–1930 Wilson resignation
8 John Percy Nields DE 1868–1943 1930–1941 1941–1943 Hoover death
9 Paul Conway Leahy DE 1904–1966 1942–1957 1948–1957 1957–1966 F. Roosevelt death
10 Richard Seymour Rodney DE 1882–1963 1946–1957 1957–1963 Truman death
11 Caleb Merrill Wright DE 1908–2001 1955–1973 1957–1973 1973–2001 Eisenhower death
12 Caleb Rodney Layton III DE 1907–1988 1957–1968 1968–1988 Eisenhower death
13 Edwin DeHaven Steel Jr. DE 1904–1986 1958–1969 1969–1986 Eisenhower death
14 James Levin Latchum DE 1918–2004 1968–1983 1973–1983 1983–2004 L. Johnson death
15 Walter King Stapleton DE 1934–present 1970–1985 1983–1985 Nixon elevation to 3d Cir.
16 Murray Merle Schwartz DE 1931–2013 1974–1989 1985–1989 1989–2013 Nixon death
18 Joseph James Farnan Jr. DE 1945–present 1985–2010 1996–2000 Reagan retirement
19 Jane Richards Roth DE 1935–present 1985–1991 Reagan elevation to 3d Cir.
20 Sue Lewis Robinson DE 1952–present 1991–2017 2000–2007 2017 G.H.W. Bush retirement
21 Roderick R. McKelvie DE 1946–present 1992–2002 G.H.W. Bush resignation
22 Gregory M. Sleet DE 1951–present 1998–2017 2007–2014 2017–2018 Clinton retirement
23 Kent A. Jordan DE 1957–present 2002–2006 G.W. Bush elevation to 3d Cir.
24 Leonard P. Stark DE 1969–present 2010–2022 2014–2021 Obama elevation to Fed. Cir.
  1. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 5, 1823, confirmed by the United States Senate on December 9, 1823, and received commission on December 9, 1823.

Chief judges[edit]

Chief judges have administrative responsibilities with respect to their district court. Unlike the Supreme Court, where one justice is specifically nominated to be chief, the office of chief judge rotates among the district court judges. To be chief, a judge must have been in active service on the court for at least one year, be under the age of 65, and have not previously served as chief judge.

A vacancy is filled by the judge highest in seniority among the group of qualified judges. The chief judge serves for a term of seven years, or until age 70, whichever occurs first. The age restrictions are waived if no members of the court would otherwise be qualified for the position.

When the office was created in 1948, the chief judge was the longest-serving judge who had not elected to retire, on what has since 1958 been known as senior status, or declined to serve as chief judge. After August 6, 1959, judges could not become or remain chief after turning 70 years old. The current rules have been in operation since October 1, 1982.

Succession of seats[edit]

United States Attorney for the District of Delaware[edit]

U.S. Attorney Term Started Term Ended Presidents served under
George Read II 1789 1816 George Washington and John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison
George Read III 1816 1836 James Monroe, John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson
James A. Bayard Jr. 1837 1843 Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, and John Tyler
William Horsey Rogers 1843 1849 John Tyler and James K. Polk
Perry Sheward Johnson 1849 1853 Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore
Thomas F. Bayard 1853 1855 Franklin Pierce
Daniel Moore Bates 1855 1861 Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan
Edward Green Bradford 1861 1866 Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson
John Lockwood Pratt 1866 1869 Andrew Johnson
Anthony Higgins 1869 1876 Ulysses S. Grant
William Corbit Spruance 1876 1880 Ulysses S. Grant and Rutherford B. Hayes
John Cunningham Patterson 1880 1888 Rutherford B. Hayes, James Garfield, Chester A. Arthur, and Grover Cleveland
Alexander Bradshaw Cooper 1888 1891 Grover Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison
Beniah Watson 1891 1894 Benjamin Harrison and Grover Cleveland
Lewis Cass Vandergrift 1894 1899 Grover Cleveland and William McKinley
William Michael Byrne 1899 1903 William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt
John Percy Nields 1903 1916 Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and Woodrow Wilson
Charles F. Curley 1916 1920 Woodrow Wilson
James H. Hughes, Jr. 1920 1924 Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, and Calvin Coolidge
David J. Reinhardt 1924 1927 Calvin Coolidge
Leonard E. Wales 1927 1935 Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt
John J. Morris, Jr. 1935 1939 Franklin D. Roosevelt
Charles Stewart Lynch 1939 1944 Franklin D. Roosevelt
John J. Morris, Jr. 1944 1948 Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman
William Marvel 1948 1953 Harry Truman
Leonard G. Hagner 1953 1961 Dwight D. Eisenhower
1961 1969 John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson
F. L. Peter Stone 1969 1973 Richard Nixon
Ralph F. Keil 1973 1975 Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford
W. Laird Stabler Jr. 1975 1977 Gerald Ford
James W. Garvin, Jr. 1977 1981 Jimmy Carter
Joseph James Farnan Jr. 1981 1985 Ronald Reagan
William C. Carpenter, Jr. 1985 1993 Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush
Gregory M. Sleet 1993 1998 Bill Clinton
Carl Schnee 1999 2001 Bill Clinton
Colm Connolly 2001 2009 George W. Bush
David C. Weiss 2009 2010 Barack Obama
Charles Oberly 2010 2018 Barack Obama and Donald Trump
David C. Weiss 2018 present Donald Trump and Joe Biden


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Judge Andrews to Take Senior Status" (PDF). United States District Court for the District of Delaware.
  2. ^ "U.S. Attorneys | District of Delaware | United States District Court". www.ded.uscourts.gov. Retrieved December 26, 2020.

External links[edit]