After nearly six years of litigation, two cases and an appearance before the U.S. Supreme Court, Delaware has abandoned its efforts to defend a practice that effectively allowed only Democrats and Republicans to serve as judges on key courts  because of a rule guaranteeing party balance.

In a consent judgment submitted to U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika for approval Monday, plaintiff and politically-unaffiliated attorney James Adams and Gov. John Carney have agreed the state law requiring judges to be registered with one of the two major political parties is unenforceable and that the Delaware federal court has the authority to make that finding.