Members of the Delaware State Bar Association (DSBA) are showing support for the state's Chancery Court and, in particular, Chancellor Andre Bouchard.
Bouchard has been the target of an ad campaign by the organization Citizens for a Pro Business Delaware which has questioned the Delaware courts' transparency and diversity.
The DSBA held a news conference on Tuesday, October 1, 2019, to fire back.
"We're trying to set the record straight so that people will have confidence in our courts," said DSBA President Bill Brady.
Brady said the group behind the ad is nothing more than a front for TransPerfect CEO Philip Shawe.
"He has an almost unlimited amount of resources at his disposal and he has used that to fund a false and misleading smear campaign against the Court and Chancellor."
Bouchard oversaw the TransPerfect case which led to the company's sale, but through which Shawe ended up owning the company outright.
"We believe that all that's left is Mr. Shawe's dissatisfaction with the Chancellor's decision and with the Chancellor himself," said Brady.
Citizens for a Pro Business Delaware Campaign Manager Chris Coffey said it's the DSBA that has failed to respond to his group's criticism about the courts.
Coffey said their concerns include not using a random selection process for judges on cases known as wheel spin; no audio or video recording in the Chancery Court; and, the itemizing of invoices by court custodians.
"If Delaware doesn't get ahead of some of this stuff, they will lose out on very important revenue that pays for their cops, their teachers, their firefighters, their roads."
Bouchard has been mentioned as a candidate to replace retiring state Supreme Court Chief Justice Leo Strine.
Coffey said Bouchard is not what the courts need.
"Another very, very, very, wealthy, rich white guy to be Chief Justice at a time where Delaware has made strides on transparency, we just don't think he's the right person for the job," said Coffey.
"The groups' recent call for diversity on the court is disingenuous," said Brady, "and a last gasp effort to legitimize its agenda and methods."
Strine announced earlier this year he was going to retire from the bench after his successor was named and confirmed.