The Honorable Randy J. Holland, Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court, has been selected as the recipient of the Seventh Annual Dwight D. Opperman Award for Judicial Excellence. Justice Holland is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Vanderbilt, where he is affiliated with the Law and Business Program.
Justice Holland was chosen to receive the award by the three-member panel that included Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard of the Indiana Supreme Court and last year’s AJS Opperman Award recipient; Judge Cara Lee Neville of the Hennepin County (Minnesota) District Court, and Judge Steve Leben of the Kansas Court of Appeals.
"Randy Holland is an icon among American lawyers and judges, and the nation is a more decent place because of his commitment to the cause of justice," Chief Justice Shepard, chair of the selection panel, said . "Justice Holland's career has been a special gift to those of us in the legal profession for whom he has been a genuine inspiration." In his nomination letter, former Delaware Chief Justice E. Norman Veasey said of Justice Holland, “Behind his impressive credentials are his true passion for the law, unselfish devotion to fairness, unimpeachable integrity, civility, professionalism, open-mindedness to all situations, and unfaltering work ethic.”
Justice Holland was appointed to the Delaware Supreme Court in 1986. Prior to his appointment to the court, he practiced at the firm of Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell in Georgetown. He is a graduate of Swarthmore College and earned his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and his L.L.M. from the University of Virginia School of Law.
Justice Holland served as president of the American Inn of Court Foundation from 2000-04 and on the American Bar Association Judicial Division Ethics and Professionalism Committee from 2007-09. He also served on a number of committees in Delaware, including the Supreme Court Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts.
Justice Holland has authored or edited six books, including a casebook, State Constitutional Law: The Modern Experience (West 2009), Middle Temple Lawyers and the American Revolution (Thomson-West 2007), Appellate Practice and Procedure (Thomson-West 2005), and three books related to the Delaware court system. He is also the author of numerous appellate decisions, many of which are landmark precedents.
Justice Holland served as chair of the AJS Center for Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee from 1994 to 2003, was a director of the society from 1992 to 2002, and was recently re-elected to serve a two-year term.
The American Judicature Society (AJS) created the Opperman Award to honor state trial and appellate judges for distinguished judicial service. The award is named for Dwight D. Opperman, former chairman and CEO of West Publishing Company. Opperman is a former AJS vice president, director and executive committee membe,r and currently serves on the AJS Board of Directors as a Distinguished Lifetime Director.
Founded in 1913, the American Judicature Society is a nonpartisan organization with a national membership of judges, lawyers, and other citizens interested in improving federal, state and local courts and the administration of justice. The AJS mission is to secure and promote an independent and qualified judiciary and a fair system of justice.