Vermont Supreme Court
|Vermont Supreme Court|
Seal of the Vermont Supreme Court
|Country||Vermont , United States|
|Authorized by||Vermont Constitution|
|Decisions are appealed to||Supreme Court of the United States|
|Number of positions||5|
|Currently||Paul L. Reiber|
|Since||December 17, 2004|
The Vermont Supreme Court is the highest judicial authority of the U.S. state of Vermont. Unlike most other states, the Vermont Supreme Court hears appeals directly from the trial courts, as Vermont has no intermediate appeals court.
The Court consists of a chief justice and four associate justices; the Court mostly hears appeals of cases that have been decided by other courts. The Supreme Court justices are appointed by the Governor of Vermont with confirmation by the Vermont Senate. When a judicial vacancy occurs, the judicial nominating board submits to the governor the names of as many persons as it deems qualified for appointment. All Supreme Court justices come up for retention at the same time every six years. The next retention date is March 31, 2017. The Joint Committee on Judicial Retention reviews a justice's performance during the previous term and recommends to the Vermont General Assembly whether the justice should be retained. The committee consists of four House members appointed by the Speaker of the House and four Senate members appointed by the Committee on Committees. After open debate and discussion, the General Assembly votes by secret ballot, with a majority having to vote against reappointment for a justice to be denied another term.
In addition to the retention process, any Vermont judge may be removed at any time in one of two ways: (1) Judges may be impeached by a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly and convicted by a two-thirds vote of the Senate, and (2) a Judicial Conduct Board investigates complaints of judicial misconduct or disability and recommends any necessary action to the Supreme Court.
The Vermont Supreme Court has overall administrative control of the court system and makes administrative and procedural rules for all courts.
Vermont Supreme Court Building
|Title||Name||Joined the Court||Appointed by|
|Chief Justice||Paul L. Reiber||2003||Jim Douglas|
|Associate Justice||John Dooley||1987||Madeleine M. Kunin|
|Associate Justice||Marilyn Skoglund||1997||Howard Dean|
|Associate Justice||Beth Robinson||2011||Peter Shumlin|
|Associate Justice||Harold "Duke" Eaton, Jr.||2014||Peter Shumlin|
The original constitution called for a "Council of Censors" which provided oversight for the court and its membership. The Council was abolished in 1870.
Prominent individuals who have served as Chief Justice include Governor and United States Senator Moses Robinson; Senator Nathaniel Chipman; Governor and Senator Isaac Tichenor; Governor and Senator Jonathan Robinson; playwright Royall Tyler; Governor Richard Skinner; Senator Dudley Chase; Governor Cornelius P. Van Ness; Senator Samuel Prentiss; Governor Charles K. Williams; Governor Stephen Royce; Congressman Luke P. Poland; Congressman Homer Royce; Senator Jonathan Ross; and U.S. District Court Judge Franklin S. Billings, Jr.
- Judicial Nomination Board
- Judicial Retention Committee
- Removal of Justices
- Reiber appointment to Associate Justice (2003), then to Chief Justice (2004)
- Appointment dates of Associate Justices
- Gillies, Paul, ed. (1991). Records of the Council of Censors of the State of Vermont (PDF).