Biden Names VT Supreme Court Justice Beth Robinson to U.S. Court of Appeals | Off Message

Biden Names VT Supreme Court Justice Beth Robinson to U.S. Court of Appeals


  • File Photo: Jeb Wallace-brodeur ©️ Seven Days
  • Beth Robinson
President Joe Biden on Thursday nominated Vermont Supreme Court Justice Beth Robinson to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Robinson, who led the marriage equality movement in Vermont, could become the first openly LGBTQ woman to hold a judgeship on any federal appeals court, the White House said. Her appointment must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Robinson, 56, has been an associate justice on the state's high court for the last decade, having previously served as counsel to former governor Peter Shumlin.

In separate statements, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Gov. Phil Scott praised the nomination. Leahy called Robinson a champion for equal rights "in the mold of the late [U.S. Supreme Court] Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg."

Before her career as a judge, Robinson was an effective legal and political advocate for marriage equality in Vermont. She was co-counsel on the landmark Baker v. State of Vermont case in 1999 that paved the way for civil unions. The legislature passed same-sex marriage into law 10 years later, following a lobbying effort in which Robinson was instrumental.
In his statement, Scott called Robinson a "steadfast public servant" who will bring "the Vermont values of commitment to justice and equality, fairness, and Freedom & Unity to the bench."
“I applaud the President for making this historic nomination, and I urge the United States Senate to move expeditiously towards her confirmation,” he wrote.

Robinson has a law degree from the University of Chicago Law School and an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College. She spent 17 years as a civil litigator at Langrock Sperry & Wool.

Robinson would fill the seat previously held by Peter Hall, who died in March.

Read more about her in Seven Days' 2018 profile of Vermont's female Supreme Court justices