Accepting Leahy’s Recommendation, President To Nominate Vermont Judge Christina Reiss For Vermont’s U.S. District Court Vacancy

The White House announced Friday afternoon that President Obama has accepted the recommendation of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and intends to nominate Vermont State Judge Christina Reiss of Essex Junction, Vt., to be the next judge on Vermont’s U.S. District Court.

If confirmed by the Senate, Reiss would be the first woman to serve on Vermont’s federal district court.  She would fill the vacancy created when Judge J. Garvan Murtha announced his intention to take senior status on Vermont’s U.S. District Court, opening the first such vacancy in Vermont in several years.
Reiss was appointed as a state judge in 2004 by Governor Jim Douglas (R), after having been a partner in two Vermont law firms.  Her selection is the product of screenings conducted by Vermont’s Judicial Nominating Commission, whose members were appointed by Leahy, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and the Vermont Bar Association.  U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) also had input during the selection process.  Of the many applications received, the 9-member nonpartisan panel interviewed and vetted eight finalists, then recommended four to Leahy for consideration.  By longstanding practice the senior senator of the President’s party recommends candidates for judicial vacancies to the President.  Leahy is Vermont’s senior senator and also chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, which first considers judicial nominations in the Senate.

Leahy said, “The President saw what we saw in Judge Reiss’s talent, experience and potential.  She has all the qualities that are important on the federal bench, including a keen understanding of the powerful role that a judge plays in the lives of those who appear before her.  She emerged from a strong field of candidates, and the Commission did a superb job in the vetting process.  I thank them again for their service.”

Leahy had joined the late Senator Robert Stafford (R-Vt.) in putting together a merit commission for an earlier Vermont judicial vacancy, and Leahy also followed that practice since becoming Vermont’s senior senator.  Merit commissions are not required, but Leahy said they work well in finding qualified candidates who are grounded by their experience in their communities and that they are “a good fit for our approach to government in Vermont.”

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[The White House announcement, including a comment from the President, is below.]

Office of the Press Secretary


October 9, 2009

President Obama Announces His Intent to Nominate Christina Reiss to the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Judge Christina Reiss to the United States District Court for the District of Vermont.  Judge Reiss currently serves as a State Judge in the Lamoille District of the Vermont Superior Court and Vermont District Courts.

“I am honored to nominate Judge Reiss to the United States District Court,” President Obama said.  “Her impressive judicial career stands as a testament to her formidable intellect and integrity.  I am confident she will serve the people of Vermont with distinction on the District Court bench.”

Judge Christina Reiss: Nominee for the District of Vermont

Judge Christina Reiss currently serves as a State Judge in the Lamoille District of the Vermont Superior Court and Vermont District Courts. She received her Bachelor’s degree from St. Michael’s College in Vermont, and her law degree from the University of Arizona College of Law in 1989.  Upon graduation, Judge Reiss clerked for the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. Prior to her appointment to the bench in 2004, Judge Reiss was in private practice as a litigator specializing in a wide range of areas including media, land use, business, employment and federal criminal law. She received a unanimous well-qualified rating from the ABA and is being nominated to the United States District Court for the District of Vermont.

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David Carle: 202-224-3693