Meet the Judge Who Tamed the Musk-Twitter Trial
A court battle between the world’s most extravagant man and a powerful friendly stage could without much of a stretch have turned into a bazaar, especially given Elon Musk’s inclination for bedlam.
A lawyer for billionaire Elon Musk had barely begun speaking during a recent hearing when the Delaware judge presiding over Twitter’s lawsuit against Musk abruptly cut her off.“Skip the rhetoric and go to the meat,” Chancellor Kathaleen St. Jude McCormick said bluntly.
The appointed authority’s tone that day enlightens the straightforward methodology she brings as the main lady to lead Delaware’s kid Court of Chancery. The court is America’s go-to scene for high-stakes debates including a portion of the world’s greatest organizations, a considerable lot of which call Delaware their lawful home.
This court fight between the world’s richest man and the influential social platform could easily have become a circus, particularly given Musk’s penchant for chaos. That hasn’t happened largely thanks to McCormick, who’s been a judge for only four years. She has set firm deadlines, reined in over-the-top attorney requests and kept the case moving briskly.
Musk has been fighting Twitter since he reported in July that he needed to abandon a consent to procure the web-based entertainment monster for $44 billion. Twitter sued Musk, looking for a court request of “explicit execution” guiding him to perfect the arrangement.
McCormick recently ordered a temporary halt in the case after Musk indicated that he would go ahead with the transaction, but she also warned that she will schedule a November trial if Musk doesn’t close the deal by Oct. 28.
The judge, whose humble demeanor belies her professional confidence, does not like the spotlight. After joining the court, McCormick admitted that she didn’t fully appreciate how everything she wrote or said would receive intense scrutiny.
McCormick presently appears courageous that court eyewitnesses and lawful savants are keeping a close eye on her, yet at times claiming to understand what she will do and why.
“The world will have to wait for the post-trial decision,” she wrote in a September ruling, indirectly acknowledging the public spotlight on the case.
From an early age, McCormick, 43, has demonstrated that she can adapt and persevere when faced with challenges.
She was born in Dover, Delaware’s capital city, and raised with her two older brothers a few miles north in the town of Smyrna. Her mother taught English; her father taught history and coached Smyrna High School’s football team.
“Katie” McCormick thought she, too, would become a teacher, even serving as president of the Delaware Future Educators of America, among other student organizations
McCormick likewise was an intense competitor who played fastpitch softball and ran track notwithstanding having outrageous scoliosis, a strange shape of the spine that was clear from birth and which expected her to wear a support on occasion. In 1995, when she was 15, McCormick went through spinal combination medical procedure.
Two years later, as a 17-year-old senior, McCormick was the recipient of a scholarship awarded each year to a downstate athlete who had overcome a physical disability. A photograph from the awards banquet that night shows a smiling McCormick, in a white dress with paisley trim, standing between then-U.S. Sen. Joe Biden and former NFL quarterback Joe Theisman.
“Occasionally were somewhat more diligently than others, however I had confidence it would generally end up as something good by and by,” McCormick said at that point, noticing that different kids she would meet during her clinic trips dealt with additional serious issues.
McCormick became the first Smyrna High student to attend Harvard University, where she majored in philosophy.
McCormick, with a deep and eclectic interest in music, played in an Irish folk band while at college. She also became involved in a student-run legal aid program that helps low-income people in the Boston area. That experience helped pique her interest in the law, leading her to the University of Notre Dame law school.
McCormick, who has long seen the law as a way to serve others, spent her summers working in Northern Ireland for firms gaining practical experience in common freedoms work and global compromise. After graduation, she looked back home, taking some work with the Local area Legitimate Guide Society, where she chipped away at lodging issues.
“Her academic record stood out. She was a Delaware native,” said CLASI executive director Dan Atkins, who recruited McCormick. “That was not typical for us, so that was cool.”
Following two years at CLASI, monetary contemplations including the introduction of her subsequent youngster moved McCormick into private practice. She later conceded that she felt “crushed” by the move since she had needed to seek after a help situated way. In any case, she fostered an energy for business prosecution, as well concerning facilitated procedures like the most optimized plan of attack plan she requested in the Twitter claim.
“Her return to public service with the court makes sense. She’s come full circle,” said Atkins, who noted that, in addition to corporate litigation, the Court of Chancery also handles equally important matters such as trusts and estates, guardianships and real estate disputes.
“I bet you she gives those cases every bit of her attention that she gives the Twitter case,” he said. “I guarantee it.”
McCormick is no humorless legal robot, however. In the introduction to her article in a law school journal, she poked fun at the supposed “misspelling” of her first name, Kathaleen, which she shares with her mother and grandmother. She explained that the unusual spelling was attributable to her great-grandmother, not the journal’s staff.
On the Chancery Court, where judges some of the time refer to noteworthy, artistic and, surprisingly, mainstream society references in their decisions, McCormick’s perspectives will generally be similarly mundane and direct. Given the open door, notwithstanding, she, as well, can turn an expression. A decision last year in a claim including the weed business opened with a reference to a Thankful Dead tune.
In another decision last year, that’s what McCormick noticed, “Julia Kid is supposed to have once said: ‘A party without a cake is only a gathering.'” all things considered, she requested a confidential value firm to secure a cake enhancing organization despite the fact that the purchasers had “lost their hunger” for the arrangement in the wake of marking it. Such a request for explicit execution is a similar kind of help looked for by Twitter against Musk.
The icing on that particular cake? One week after that ruling, McCormick, who was appointed a vice chancellor in 2018 when the court expanded from five judges to seven, was promoted to chancellor.