WILMINGTON, Del.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware (CPBD) launched a 6-figure campaign calling for Governor Carney to appoint a person of color to replace retiring Chancellor Andre Bouchard on the currently all-white Chancery Court. The comprehensive campaign will deploy a range of strategies including radio, print ads, and a comprehensive grassroots canvassing campaign to communicate directly with voters and civic leaders to put pressure on Governor Carney to restore diversity on the Chancery Court, which has been all-white since the departure of Justice Tamika Montgomery-Reeves, the only Black person to ever sit on the Chancery Court.
Research from the Brennan Center for Justice and others has unequivocally demonstrated that diverse court composition is critical for applying “equal justice under the law” and enhancing the legitimacy of the courts in the eyes of the citizens it serves. CPBD’s campaign will call for strategic recruitment of diverse candidates and transparency in the nominating and interview process to remedy the fact that people of color make up 60% of the prison population but constitute only 15% of all judges in Delaware.
Said Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware Campaign Manager Chris Coffey, “We must ask ourselves: if there were more diversity on the benches of Delaware’s highest courts, would sentences be more fair, would the prison population be less disproportionally made up of people of color, would our judges care more about COVID ripping through the prison population?”
Governor Carney’s most recent appointment of Paul Fioravanti Jr. to the Chancery Court, replacing Justice Tamika Montgomery-Reeves – the first Black woman to sit on Delaware's Supreme Court – was a step backwards in diversifying the Delaware judiciary. Chancellor Bouchard’s impending retirement presents Governor Carney and the nominating commission the chance to do more than pay lip service to equity and diversity.
Continued Coffey, “Governor Carney has an opportunity to finally follow through on his purported commitment to diversity and replace Chancellor Bouchard, whose tenure as head of the Chancery Court was marked by lack of judicial accountability and cronyism, with a person of color who will represent the interests of all Delawareans, rather than an elite few. Our awareness campaign will push tirelessly for a more diverse, fair, and accountable Delaware judiciary.”
Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware is a group made up of more than 5,000 members including employees of the global translation services company TransPerfect, as well as concerned Delaware residents, business executives and others. They formed in April of 2016 to focus on raising awareness with Delaware residents, elected officials, and other stakeholders about the unprecedented forced sale of TransPerfect. While their primary goal of saving the company has been accomplished, they continue their efforts to fight for more transparency in the Delaware Chancery Court. For more information on Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware or to join the cause, visit DelawareForBusiness.org.