Former Delaware Supreme Court Justice Joseph T. Walsh died the morning of Aug. 15 after a battle with cancer, sources close to the former judge have confirmed. He was 84.
Walsh served on the Delaware Supreme Court from 1985 until 2003. Prior to joining Delaware’s highest court, he served on the state’s Superior Court from 1972 until 1984. He joined the Delaware Court of Chancery as a vice chancellor in 1984, before being appointed to the Supreme Court one year later. Walsh is said to have authored 250 opinions during his time on the Supreme Court.
A Delaware native, Walsh graduated from Salesianum School in 1948 and then received a bachelor’s degree from La Salle University in Philadelphia. Walsh received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1954, and he was admitted to the Delaware bar in 1955.
In 1958, Walsh entered private practice, primarily as a litigator. He also served as chief counsel for the Delaware Public Service Commission and was counsel for the Wilmington Parking Authority. Prior to joining the bench, Walsh served as attorney for the Delaware House of Representatives.
While serving on the courts, Walsh chaired various committees, including the criminal code commentary committee, the long-range courts planning committee, and the Administrative Office of the Courts restructuring committee. In 1989, Walsh received the Herbert Harley Award from the American Judicature Society for promoting the effective administration of justice.
Upon retiring from the judiciary in 2003, Walsh served as special counsel at McCarter & English. He retired from the firm July 1, 2010. He also spent time as an adjunct professor at Widener University School of Law, earning an honorary Doctor of Laws in 1997.
Widener Law spokeswoman Mary Allen released a statement praising the jurist.
“We are profoundly saddened by the news of Justice Walsh’s passing,” she said. “Our sympathies go out to his family during this difficult time. Justice Walsh was a devoted friend to Widener Law whose contributions enriched the educational experience for our students. We are a better place because he was part of our family, and we will miss him.”
In addition to his legal career, Walsh served three years as a member of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General program, and graduated from the University of Virginia’s Judge Advocate General School in 1956. He also was a director of the Einstein Institute for Science, Health and the Courts.