Posted: Nov. 4, 2005


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

The Delaware State Bar Association is said to have decided not to raise objections to the nomination of Attorney General M. Jane Brady for the Superior Court, despite the misgivings of some of its members.

The decision came Friday afternoon in a closed meeting of the bar association's executive committee, the lawyers' governing council, and it was supposed to remain confidential, but it did not take long before the state's legal and political circles were talking about it.

The bar association was regarded as the last hope for organized opposition to Brady, whose appointment has been seen largely through the prism of politics as an arrangement that spares the three-term Republican from facing uncertain re-election prospects next year and lets Gov. Ruth Ann Minner appoint a fellow Democrat to serve out Brady's term.

The state Senate will meet Tuesday to consider Brady's appointment.

Elements of the bar have questioned the raw politics of the nomination as well as Brady's qualifications, although the specific complaints remain publicly ill-defined. The governor's own Judicial Nominating Commission signaled its doubts by sending Minner six candidates for the vacancy instead of the customary three, as if it was acknowledging it would be asked for more names if Brady's had been left out.

The objections to Brady have been centered in the bar association's Judicial Appointments Committee, which is responsible for advising the Judicial Nominating Commission during the confidential selection process.

The Judicial Appointments Committee was said to give Brady a "not recommended" rating. Whenever that occurs and the governor still makes the appointment, the committee has the option under the bar association's bylaws to ask the executive committee to inform certain state Senate leaders of the rating.

The Judicial Appointments Committee was said to ask, but the executive committee was said to say no. Helen L. Winslow, the bar association's president, did not respond to a request for comment.

The executive committee perhaps was bowing to the inevitable, because by all accounts Brady will be confirmed, and the last thing the bar wants is a judge with an incentive to hold a grudge.