Sen. Carper Pushes for Vote on Delaware U.S. District Court Nominee Judge Leonard P. Stark

Nominee Unanimously Approved by Senate Judiciary Committee but Vote by Full Senate Continues to Be Stalled

WASHINGTON- Today Senator Tom Carper (D-Del) took to the Senate floor to speak in favor of the nomination of Judge Leonard P. Stark for United States District Court in Delaware.  Judge Stark’s nomination is one of several judicial nominations pending a full vote by the Senate.  A copy of his remarks as prepared for delivery follows: 


"Last year, I was pleased to provide President Obama with the names of three highly qualified Delawareans for him to consider for appointment to the United States District Court in Delaware.


"Any of these Delawareans would have been an excellent addition to the Court.  After careful deliberation, in March the President made a wise decision in nominating U.S. Magistrate Judge, Leonard P. Stark, for a seat on the United States District Court in Delaware.


"Following his nomination in March, I was honored to introduce Len at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in April.  Judge Stark was well received by the Committee at that hearing, and was unanimously approved by the Committee in May.


"Unfortunately, since the Judiciary Committee approved his nomination over two months ago, Judge Stark has not yet received a vote from the full Senate, through no fault of his own.


"The lack of a U.S. District Court Judge would be a serious situation for the First State in any circumstances, but the delayed consideration of Judge Stark’s nomination is particularly dire.  Tomorrow, another U.S. District Court Judge for Delaware, Judge Joseph J. Farnan, will retire from the bench.  While Judge Farnan’s retirement is well deserved, his retirement, coupled with the current vacancy on the court, will mean that Delaware’s U.S. District Court’s capacity will be reduced to 50 percent.  This will have a decidedly negative impact on our State.


"Now, I realize not everyone listening today may know Len personally, so please allow me a few minutes to tell you a little bit about him.


"Len Stark is a fellow University of Delaware graduate, so, like me, he is a proud Blue Hen.  As a student at the University of Delaware, Len received a full scholarship as the Eugene du Pont Memorial Distinguished Scholar.  And, following graduation, he was twice honored by his fellow students and alumni by serving as a commencement speaker.


"Immediately after graduating from the University of Delaware, Len was elected as a Rhodes Scholar and studied at Oxford University.  He has authored numerous academic and scholarly publications, including a book on British politics – which he wrote in his "spare time" in between classes at Oxford.  After Oxford, Len then went on to earn his law degree at Yale Law School, where he served as senior editor of the Yale Law Journal.


"Len launched his legal career as a Clerk for the Honorable Walter K. Stapleton on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, after which he practiced as a corporate litigator at the prestigious law firm of Skadden Arps.


"Len began his public service career as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for Delaware, where from 2002 until 2007 he handled a wide variety of federal criminal and civil matters.


"Currently, Len serves the U.S. District Court of Delaware as a Magistrate Judge.  In this position, he already does much of the same work as a District Court Judge. His docket largely consists of civil cases that are referred to him by the three active District Court Judges. On these referral cases – a great many of which are patent infringement actions – Judge Stark handles all types of pretrial matters, and, in certain cases, even presides at trial, just as he will as our new District Court Judge.


"Len is a humble and dedicated public servant, a family man, and a person of great character.  In every facet of his life, Len Stark has performed with distinction – earning the highest praise from his colleagues and many of the most prestigious awards given to a legal scholar and public servant.  I can sum this up by saying simply that Len Stark has the heart of a public servant.  Judge Stark’s position as Magistrate on the U.S. District Court clearly provides him with the skills to be an outstanding District Court Judge.


"Len’s legal acumen, his tireless work ethic, and his experience as a Federal Magistrate Judge, Assistant US Attorney, and litigator has prepared him well to fill this seat on the U.S. District Court in Delaware.  In fact, I can’t imagine finding anyone in the country better prepared to serve in this position.


"Now that you know a little more about Judge Stark, I hope you can see why I think he would make an excellent U.S. District Judge for Delaware – and why I am so troubled by the delay in considering his nomination.


"The late British statesman and former Prime Minister William Gladstone once said, 

"Justice delayed is justice denied."  I think that statement is entirely appropriate here.  Continuing to delay the consideration of Judge Stark’s nomination is actively denying justice, and it is extremely harmful to the people of my state.


"I hope that we can put aside our differences and stop delaying justice for Delawareans.  I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting Judge Stark’s nomination."