Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware will announce that it is rebranding during a Tuesday rally designed to pressure Gov. John Carney to appoint a Black justice to Chancery Court.
The group’s name will change to Citizens for Judicial Fairness, to reflect its growth into an organization with a national focus in highlighting gaps in representation and fighting for equity and transparency in U.S. courts and the legal system.
“This is a major milestone for our movement in Delaware and nationwide as we focus our efforts on fighting for fairness, equity and transparency in our judiciary and legal industry,” said Chris Coffey, campaign manager for the group, in a press release.
“Since our founding nearly six years ago, we’ve been constantly amazed by the enthusiastic grassroots response from thousands of citizens in Delaware and beyond who are sick and tired of courts that don’t look like them or live like them making far-reaching decisions that affect their livelihoods,” Coffey said. “We are proud to have given those citizens a voice and an outlet to demand better from their leaders, and are excited to continue that work for the long-haul.”
The Delaware Courts did not respond to a request for comment on the change.
The pro-business group rose in the wake of the Transperfect case decided by the Delaware Chancery Court, which many considered the best place for businesses to resolve internal conflicts. One of the parties in any suit there must be a company incorporated in Delaware.
In the Transperfect case, the Shawe family that owned the language translation company were angry over the court’s order that it must be sold, which it was to owner Phil Shawe.
Since then, members of the Shawe family and the Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware have worked against Gov. John Carney’s election, been critical of the Chancery Court and have the lack of minority judges.
The organization has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying for changes and protesting the $3.9 million in fees that Custodian Robert Pincus’ and Skadden Arps — a vast American international law firm — charged during the court battle.
The Rev. Al Sharpton will appear at the 11:30 a.m. rally Tuesday, May 24, outside the Delaware State Capitol in Dover.
The group wants a Black judge appointed to the vacancy on Delaware’s Chancery Court. The last was Delaware Supreme Court Justice Tamika R. Montgomery-Reeves, who was elevated to the State Supreme Court in 2019.
“As we enter this new phase of our advocacy, we are committed to doubling down on our role as the leading voice for judicial diversity and equity in Delaware,” Coffey said. “We’ve said for years that we’re here to stay in Delaware and we meant it – our new brand and name represent that commitment and we couldn’t be more excited to keep working alongside our partners and supporters to create lasting positive change in Delaware.”
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience, including 15 at The News Journal in Delaware.
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