AUBURN — When Superior Court Justice Thomas E. Delahanty II first took the position of Maine’s U.S. attorney, Jimmy Carter was president and Edmund Muskie was a senator.
A lot of time has passed, but Delahanty will get a chance to pick up where he left off: The longtime judge was tapped Wednesday as Maine’s next U.S. attorney, a position he held for just over a year in 1980 and 1981.
Delahanty had been on the short list of candidates for the position, along with three other Maine lawyers. In late January, he went to Washington, D.C., to interview for the position he held so briefly and so long ago.
Delahanty was rumored to be a strong favorite for the job, but it didn’t become official until Wednesday when the Obama administration made the announcement.
Accolades soon followed.
“Thomas Delahanty is a distinguished candidate to be Maine’s next U.S. attorney,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine. “He is highly qualified for this position and has a vast amount of on-the-job experience. He is a dedicated public servant, and I have no doubt that he will capably lead the office of U.S. attorney with the utmost integrity.”
Delahanty is one of the most well-known figures on the local court scene. Working mainly out of the Androscoggin County courthouse in Auburn, he has been a justice for the Maine Superior Court since 1983. Before that, he was a partner in the firm Delahanty & Longley. Prior to that, of course, he was U.S. attorney for 15 months.
Delahanty was out of state on vacation Wednesday when he got the word on Obama’s decision late in the afternoon.
In an interview with the Sun Journal last spring, Delahanty said several people had approached him about the post, urging him to put his name in the hat.
“I talked to my family and decided I would give it a try,” he said. “It has absolutely nothing to do with any dissatisfaction with being a judge in the Superior Court.”
Delahanty will replace current U.S. Attorney Paula Silsby, who has been in that position since 2001.