05.29.14

Leahy Posts Official Notice Of June 4 Confirmation Hearing For Vermont Chief Justice Crawford, Nominated For Vermont’s Upcoming District Court Vacancy

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy Thursday formally announced the confirmation hearing for the Vermonter nominated to fill the state’s upcoming U.S. District Court vacancy.  The hearing, on Wednesday, June 4, will focus on the nomination of Vermont Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey Crawford, as well as on three nominees to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

The President officially nominated Justice Crawford on May 20, after earlier indicating his intention to nominate him.  Leahy had recommended Justice Crawford in March to the White House, after screening by a nine-member nonpartisan Vermont Judicial Nominating Commission.  Justice Crawford had been one of the panel’s two finalists, who then were interviewed by Leahy.

The U.S. District Court in Vermont is at full strength with two active judges currently serving, but Judge William Sessions’ decision to take senior status will soon create a vacancy.  The nine-member, nonpartisan Vermont Judicial Nominating Commission consisted of three commissioners named by Leahy, three by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and three by the Vermont Bar Association.  The merit commission continued a tradition that the late Sen. Robert Stafford (R-Vt.) and Leahy developed and used, and that has been used since then.  By longstanding practice, the senior senator of the President’s party then recommends the final candidate for a judicial vacancy to the President.  Leahy is Vermont’s senior senator as well as chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which first considers judicial nominations in the Senate.

Justice Crawford, of Burlington, was born in 1954.  He earned an undergraduate degree from Yale and a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1980.  From 1980 to 1981 he served as a law clerk to Hon. Albert W. Coffrin for the U.S. District Court, for the District of Vermont. From 1981 to 1984 he was an associate at Burlingham, Underwood & Lord in New York City.  From 1984 to 1987 he was an associate at Manchester & O'Neill. In 1987 he and Jerome F. O'Neill formed the firm of O'Neill, Crawford & Green, where he practiced until 2002.  In November 2002 he was appointed as a Vermont Superior Court judge by Governor Howard Dean.  In October 2013 he was sworn in as an Associate Justice of the Vermont Supreme Court by Governor Peter Shumlin.  He and his wife have raised five children.

Leahy has called Justice Crawford “a fine jurist in the finest Vermont tradition.”

The hearing starts at 10:30 a.m. and will be webcast live over the Judiciary Committee’s website: http://www.judiciary.senate.gov/meetings/judicial-nominations-2014-06-04

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