Senator Carper Speaks on Senate Floor Ahead of Jennifer Hall’s Confirmation as a Judge to Delaware’s U.S. District Court

Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) spoke on the Senate floor to support the confirmation of Jennifer Hall to serve as the next U.S. District Court Judge for Delaware. Senators Carper and Chris Coons (D-Del.) recommended her for this new judicial position to the White House in 2023. Currently, she serves as a Magistrate Judge on the same court and following Senator Carper’s speech, she was confirmed to the bench by a vote of 67 – 29.

Read Senator Carper’s remarks as delivered below and watch the full floor speech here.

I rise today to voice my support for Jennifer Hall’s nomination to serve as the next U.S. District Court Judge for Delaware. Before I describe what makes Jennifer Hall well-suited for this role, let me take a moment to describe our approach to filling district court vacancies in the First State.

For over a decade, my colleague – my wingman, if you will – from Delaware, Senator Chris Coons, and I have relied on a collaborative process for putting forward U.S. District Court recommendations to the White House, regardless of who is in the White House. With the help of a judicial nominating commission, Senator Coons and I work to identify some of the most qualified individuals in Delaware in order to recommend them to the President, regardless of political party. This process serves Delaware well, serves our nation well, and has yielded yet another extraordinary nominee before us today.

As I often say, “Justice delayed is justice denied.” It’s critical that we act swiftly to confirm Jennifer Hall to Delaware’s U.S. District Court – it is one of the busiest, if not the busiest, District Courts in the nation.

I also want to thank Judge Rich Andrews for his service to this court, and also to our state and to our nation. I know that when he takes senior status at the end of this year, Jennifer Hall will be well prepared to help take on an enormous workload before the court.

Now, I’d like to share a little bit more about her, if I could, with my colleagues today. Jennifer grew up in Minnesota and is a proud graduate of the University of Minnesota — home of the Golden Gophers — where she earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. She then made her way to Yale, where she met her husband Dave and earned not one but two more degrees: a masters AND a Ph.D. in both molecular physics and biochemistry. But apparently, three degrees weren’t enough, so she continued her studies at the University of Pennsylvania’s Law School, where she graduated magna cum laude and immediately began a successful legal career.

In the years that followed, she had the distinction of clerking for two federal judges appointed by President George W. Bush. Jennifer went on to work at Fish & Richardson, a Wilmington, Delaware law firm, where she focused on patent law and other complex business issues. After three years in private practice, she felt called to serve the people of Delaware and of America.

She spent the next eight years at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware. Then in 2019, Jennifer was selected to serve as a Magistrate Judge on the U.S. District Court for Delaware, the same court to which she has now been nominated to serve as a federal judge.

The last four years have given her some of the best preparation and on-the-job training that anyone could ask for. Magistrate Judge Hall has impressed her colleagues on the bench, both with her intellect and her work ethic, and she has a deep respect and knowledge of the law. Her background as a scientist, as a legal scholar, and as a magistrate judge have prepared her well for this new role, and I strongly urge my colleagues to vote to confirm Magistrate Judge Jennifer Hall to serve as the next U.S. District Court Judge for Delaware. 

I’m certain she is going to be ready to hit the ground running on day one – especially in a District Court as busy and important as Delaware’s.

Before I yield back my time, I’m going to be joined here momentarily by Senator Coons, my colleague from Delaware who serves on the Judiciary Committee, and with whom I serve and have enjoyed the opportunity to serve our state. We have probably not the kind of close working relationship when it comes to judicial nominations that you find in most other states. We do it as a team. And we have great help from folks on our nominating commission who help make sure we not only identify excellent candidates, but actually be able to present them for confirmation.

Mr. President, as presiding officer and as my friend I think you know that I’m a recovering governor – I used to serve as the governor of Delaware for eight years. The governor of Delaware gets to nominate people to serve on Court of Chancery, Superior Court, Family Court, Supreme Court – and to submit those names to the Senator for their consideration.

I always look for three or four qualities in the people I nominated as governor to serve on the bench in Delaware, because even in state courts, we consider some of the major issues of our country. One of the things I’ve learned to look for in nominees: people that are smart. I want to find people that are not just book smart, but actually are wise. I look for people who have a strong work ethic. I look for people who believe in the Golden Rule, treating the folks who came before them in their courtroom the way that they want to be treated. And people with integrity that cannot ever be questioned. Those are just some of the criteria that I look for in my judicial nominees.

For eight years, I submitted names to the State Senate in Delaware. They all went before the executive committee and eventually were considered. Every one of those nominees were confirmed, which says a lot about Delaware. And I hope that we’ll take similar kind of action here today. Jennifer got a good vote on cloture, and my hope is we can replicate that as well. […]

This is a proud day for Delaware. I know it is for Jennifer and her family. Thank you, Mr. President.