Vermont Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey Crawford was unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate to serve as a judge in the U.S. District Court for the district of Vermont.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy recommended Crawford for the nomination after the Vermont Judicial Selection Commission put his name forward as the top candidate. President Barack Obama then nominated Crawford, and he was approved by the Senate Tuesday.
From Leahy's statement on the Senate floor ahead of the confirmation vote:
ustice Crawford has significant criminal and civil experience. He was a Vermont trial court judge for 11 years and recently became an Associate Justice on the Vermont Supreme Court. He formerly was a partner in a Burlington law firm. Justice Crawford earned his B.A., cum laude, from Yale University and his J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School. Following law school, he served as a law clerk to Judge Albert Coffrin of the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont.
I did not know Justice Crawford personally before this process but when I did meet him I was struck by his brilliance, compassion, and humility. Justice Crawford earned a stellar reputation in Vermont’s legal community, and also from those who had appeared before him, as a careful jurist who understands the effects that legal rulings have on people’s lives. I have no doubt that once confirmed he will bring that same understanding and impartiality to the Federal bench.
Crawford will replace Judge William Sessions, who recently moved to "senior status" - a form of limited retirement - after 18 years on the federal bench.
With Crawford vacating his seat on the Vermont Supreme Court to fill the federal role, Gov. Peter Shumlin will now have to appoint a justice to replace him.
In a statement, Shumlin said the Judicial Nominating Board - chaired by John Kellner of the Langrock Sperry & Wool law firm - will now begin the search for Crawford's replacement.
I commend the U.S. Senate for its good judgment in unanimously confirming Justice Crawford to the federal bench for Vermont. Justice Crawford is both well respected in the legal community and known for his kind heart and compassion. He will be a great addition to the federal bench, in the proud tradition of the other Vermonters who have come before him. I anticipate that the Judicial Nominating Board here in Vermont will begin soliciting nominations to replace him on the Vermont Supreme Court, and look forward to receiving those names when the panel has concluded its work.