November 11, 2011
Dictum in Delaware
Posted by Gordon Smith

Thanks to Usha for plugging the Columbia Law School conference on the Delaware Court of Chancery. The conference is partly aimed at honoring Bill Chandler, the recently retired Chancellor, but it is also looking forward to the court under new Chancellor Leo Strine.

On the first panel, Bill Savitt of Wachtell argued that "dictum" in the Delaware Court of Chancery is different than dictum for other courts. In some ways, he argued, the Court of Chancery is more like a legislator or regulator than a common law court because the judges are so engaged with and knowledgeable about the issues. Thus, they are not subject to the same "availability heuristic" that troubles other courts. See Fred Schauer's article, Do Cases Make Bad Law?, 73 U Chi L Rev 883 (2006).

According to Savitt, one reason the Delaware courts are in a better position than other courts to legislate or regulate, rather than just deciding incrementally, is that Delaware decisions are subject to extensive commentary from academic bloggers! Here is the photo:

Columbia conference

You can see our banner in the bottom right-hand corner of Bill's slide. Thanks for the plug!

UPDATE: If you want a blow-by-blow account of the conference, you might try Alison Frankel's Twitter feed.

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