CHAPTER 149

AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR INTERIM JUDICIAL SUCCESSION.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:

Section 1. Part I, Title 10, Delaware Code is amended by adding thereto a new Chapter 18 as follows:

CHAPTER 18. EMERGENCY INTERIM JUDICIAL SUCCESSION.

§ 1801. Short title

This Chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Emergency Interim Judicial Succession Act."

§ 1802. Statement of policy

Because of the possibility of an attack upon the United States of unprecedented size and destructiveness, and in order, in the event of such attack, to assure continuity of government through legally constituted leadership, authority and responsibility in offices of the government of the State; to provide for the effective operation of governments during an emergency; and to facilitate the early resumption of functions temporarily suspended, it is found and declared to be necessary to provide for special emergency judges who can exercise the powers and discharge the duties of judicial offices in the event regular judges are unavailable.

§ 1803. Definitions

Unless otherwise clearly required by the context, as used in this act:

(a) "Unavailable" means either that vacancy in office exists, or that the lawful incumbent of the office is absent or unable to exercise the powers and discharge the duties of the office.

(b) "Emergency interim successor" means a person designated pursuant to this act, in the event the officer is unavailable, to exercise the powers and discharge the duties of an office until a successor is appointed and qualified as may be provided by the constitution, statutes, charters and ordinances or until the lawful incumbent is able to resume the exercise of the powers and discharge the duties of the office.

(c) "Attack" means any attack or series of attacks by an enemy of the United States causing, or which may cause, substantial damage or injury to civilian property or persons in the United States in any manner by sabotage or by the use of bombs, missiles, shellfire, or atomic, radiological, chemical, bacteriological, or biological means or other weapons or processes.

§ 1804. Special emergency judges

In the event that any judge of any court of record is unavailable to exercise the powers and discharge the duties of his office, and in the event no other judge authorized to act in the event of absence, disability or vacancy or no special judge appointed in accordance with the provisions of the constitution or statutes is available to exercise the powers and discharge the duties of such office, the duties of the office shall be discharged and the powers exercised by the special emergency judges hereinafter provided for:

(a) The Governor, upon approval of this act, shall designate for each member of the Supreme Court, the Superior Court and Orphans' Court special emergency judges in the number of not less than three nor more than seven for each member of the said courts, and shall specify the order of their succession.

Such special emergency judges shall, in the order specified, exercise the powers and discharge the duties of such office in case of the unavailability of the regular judge or judges or persons immediately preceding them in the designation. The designation authority shall review and revise, as necessary, designations made pursuant to this act to insure their current status.

Said special emergency judges shall discharge the duties and exercise the powers of such office until such time as a vacancy which may exist shall be filled in accordance with the constitution and statutes or until the regular judge or one preceding the designee in the order of succession becomes available to exercise the powers and discharge the duties of office.

No person shall be designated or serve as a special emergency judge unless he may under the constitution and laws of this State hold the office of the judge to whose powers and duties he is designated to succeed.

§ 1805. Formalities of taking office

At the time of their designation, special emergency judges shall take such oath as may be required for them to exercise the powers and discharge the duties of the office to which they may succeed. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person, as a prerequisite to the exercise of the powers or discharge of the duties of an office to which he succeeds, shall be required to comply with any other provision of law relative to taking office.

§ 1806. Period in which authority may be exercised

Officials authorized to act as special emergency judges are empowered to exercise the powers and discharge the duties of an office as herein authorized only after an attack upon the United States, as defined herein, has occurred. The legislature by concurrent resolution, may at any time terminate the authority of said special emergency judges to exercise the powers and discharge the duties of office as herein provided.

§ 1807. Removal of designees

Until such time as the persons designated as special emergency judges are authorized to exercise the powers and discharge the duties of an office in accordance with this Chapter including § 1806 hereof, said persons shall serve in their designated capacities at the pleasure of the designating authority and may be removed or replaced by said designating authority at any time, with or without cause.

§ 1808. Separability

The various provisions of this Chapter shall be construed as separable and severable, and should any of the provisions or parts thereof be construed or held unconstitutional or for any reason be invalid, the remaining provisions of this article shall not be thereby affected.

Approved July 21, 1961.