Markell Confers Governor’s Heritage Award upon the Honorable William T. Quillen

Governor Jack Markell presented the Governor’s Heritage Award to former Delaware Supreme Court Justice and Secretary of State William T. Quillen at a ceremony on Wednesday at the Delaware Public Archives in Dover. The Governor’s Heritage Award is given to those Delawareans who have contributed significantly to the recognition, preservation, and celebration of Delaware’s heritage. Quillen is the ninth person to receive the distinction.

While serving as Secretary of State from 1993-1994, Quillen was the driving force behind the planning of a new Public Archives building, which holds more than 95,000 cubic feet of government records and historical documents.

“When he became Secretary of State, Bill took a special interest in the Archives and what it needed to grow and modernize,” said Governor Markell. “He was determined to help it be the top-notch facility he and others knew it could be.”

On a more local level, Quillen has long been a champion for the preservation and celebration of New Castle’s historic legacy, including as a former Vice President and Director of the New Castle Historical Society.

In addition to his service as Delaware’s Secretary of State, Quillen has held the distinguished posts of Superior Court Judge, Chancellor of the Court of Chancery, and Supreme Court Justice. He has also worked for many years in private law practice, and is currently Of Counsel at the Wilmington office of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP. He has taught law at Widener University and has written about the history of Delaware’s Court of Chancery, in addition to other academic publications.

Quillen received his BA from Williams College, his LL.B. from Harvard Law School and his LL.M. from University of Virginia School of Law. He was joined at Wednesday’s ceremony by members of his family, as well as current and past colleagues, including Superior Court Resident Judge Richard Cooch, former Secretaries of State Harriet Smith Windsor and Edward J. Freel, and current Chief Deputy Secretary of State Richard Geisenberger.

Photos from this event

Video excerpt of Governor Markell’s remarks

Delaware Receives National Award for Innovative Education Policy

State becomes Recipient of 2013 Frank Newman Award for State Innovation

(Dover, DE)  Delaware has won a national award for innovative education policy that is making systematic changes to improve student outcomes across the state.

The Education Commission of the States will honor Delaware in May for winning the 2013 Frank Newman Award for State Innovation, which recognizes “states and territories for enacting innovative education reforms or implementing innovative programs that go beyond marginal or incremental changes to improve student outcomes on a large scale.”

The Governor’s plan for strengthening Delaware schools laid the foundation for Delaware’s 2010 first-place win in the federal Race to the Top (RTTT) and 2011 win in the federal Early Learning Challenge grant competitions.

“With this award, the Commission is recognizing the hard work of Delaware’s educators,” Governor Markell said.  “Our teachers and school and district leaders deserve this national spotlight.  As those working closest to our children, they are the ones making policy changes real for our students. They are the ones driving our students’ success.”

“Delaware has emerged as a national leader in comprehensive education reform.  Their innovative ideas, tremendous student gains and focus on data collection systems have paid off,” said Jeremy Anderson, ECS President. “Delaware embodies the spirit of the Frank Newman Award by implementing bold policies that go beyond incremental changes to impact student learning across the state.”

“Delaware’s plan was developed with lessons learned from national and international research and best practices. We are honored by this award and the opportunity it gives us now to share our successes and challenges with other states and countries,” Secretary of Education Mark Murphy said.

The nomination cited significant progress underway in Delaware.   This includes: higher standards and online growth measures for students, new evaluation systems for educators, focused supports and new strategies to improve the lowest performing schools, significant investments and quality initiatives for early learning programs.

The award highlights several initiatives in Delaware that “have broken new ground, are yielding results, are replicable, and are scalable,” including one of the best data infrastructures in the country and a statewide system to provide support and time for all educators, which includes 90 minutes per week to work in professional learning communities.

Flags lowered to half-staff today

DOVER – With the passing of former Delaware Lieutenant Governor Gene Bookhammer, Gov. Markell has ordered the American and Delaware flags at state buildings and facilities be flown at half-staff beginning the morning of Thursday, February 28 until the beginning of business on Tuesday, March 5 as a mark of respect. Mr. Bookhammer served as Delaware’s Lieutenant Governor from 1969 to 1977. Prior to his service as lieutenant governor, Mr. Bookhammer served in the state Senate. He passed away on Saturday and services will be held Monday.

Biden marks National Consumer Protection Week with seminars statewide

Wilmington – Attorney General Beau Biden announced that his office is marking National Consumer Protection Week (March 3-9) by conducting informational public forums across the state next week and directing Delawareans to online resources to help guard themselves against fraud.  The forums will raise awareness of several widespread consumer frauds commonly investigated by his office, as well as investment scams and the crime of identity theft.  Participants will learn how to protect themselves by recognizing signs that they or someone they know is being targeted, receive tips to avoid falling victim to a scheme, and learn about state and federal government resources available to help victims and their families.

“Your best protection against a scam or fraud is to avoid it in the first place,” Biden said.  “We’re recognizing Consumer Protection Week by visiting with consumers in communities across our state to educate them about common scams and empower them with information to avoid being victimized.  We invite all Delawareans to learn more about protecting themselves and their loved ones by attending a presentation, visiting our website at, or calling our Consumer Hotline at 800-220-5424.”

The Department’s presentations are as follows:

Tuesday, March 5th
12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m.
Modern Maturity Ctr.
1121 Forest Ave., Dover

Wednesday, March 6th
5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
YWCA Newark
153 East Chestnut Hill Road, Newark

Friday, March 8th
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Seaford Public Library
600 N. Market St, Seaford

Each presentation will be led by staff from the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit and Securities Unit.  Participant questions will be encouraged.  Presentations are free and open to the public.  Registration is not required.

Delaware consumers are urged to report suspected scams or fraudulent solicitations to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit by calling 1-800-220-5424 or sending an e-mail to  Consumers are also encouraged to visit the Attorney General’s website at to view a wide variety of helpful tips and educational information and instructions for filing consumer complaints.

Learn more about National Consumer Protection Week 2013 by visiting

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Biden Takes Legal Action in Support of Marriage Equality

Wilmington – Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden and 13 of his colleagues today filed legal briefs with the United States Supreme Court supporting the freedom to marry for all couples and arguing that laws discriminating against same-sex couples violate the federal Constitution.

“Equality under the law is a founding principle of America, but we will not all be equal until everyone has the freedom to choose whom to love and whom to spend their lives with,” Biden said.  “It is unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples the freedom to marry.”

The amicus brief was filed today by Biden and 13 Attorneys General in the case of Hollingsworth v. Perry.  In that case, the high Court is considering the question of whether Proposition 8’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The brief contends that it does and that the Court should declare Proposition 8 unconstitutional. The case has been scheduled for oral argument on March 26.

The second amicus brief will be filed tomorrow by Biden and other Attorneys General in the case US v. Windsor, which challenges the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.  That Act, which prohibits states from recognizing full civil marriage for same-sex couples, runs against to 200 years of congressional deference to state determination of domestic relations.

Proposition 8 amended the California state constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.  California voters approved the measure by ballot initiative in November 2008 following a California Supreme Court decision that granted same-sex couples the right to marry.  In 2012, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled the measure unconstitutional.

The brief highlights the experience that many states that have ended the exclusion of same-sex couples from civil marriage. Relying on data regarding marriage rates, divorce rates, and percentages of out-of-wedlock births, the brief refutes speculation offered by the proponents of Proposition 8 as to the supposed negative effects of allowing same-sex couples to marry. The brief also argues that the measure actually harms families by denying the multitude of legal and social benefits of marriage to same-sex couples and their children.

The brief argues that “Proposition 8 deprives the children of same-sex couples of the benefits of being raised in a secure, protected family unit with two married parents.  In doing so, it works against the states’ efforts to ‘strengthen the modern family in its many variations,” citing the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s 2003 decision in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health.

The brief further argues, “The states favor – and therefore encourage – marriage over transient relationships because marriage promotes stable family bonds, fosters economic interdependence and security for members of the marital household, and enhances the physical and emotional well-being of both the partners to the marriage and any children they may raise…  All of these interests are furthered by ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from the institution.”

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