Governor appoints Beth Robinson to Vt SupCo - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Governor appoints Beth Robinson to Vt SupCo

Montpelier, Vermont - October 18, 2011

The appointment of Beth Robinson to the Vermont Supreme Court was expected. As soon as Justice Denise Johnson announced she was retiring, those in judicial and political circles predicted Robinson would be appointed.

"I see the Supreme Court as a place where the rubber meets the road and the concepts and ideas we call law intersect with the lives of real people and I think it is a tremendous responsibility," Robinson said.

Gov. Peter Shumlin and Robinson worked closely on legislation that led to Vermont allowing same-sex couples to marry. The attorney from Middlebury also played a critical role in getting Shumlin elected in his razor-thin victory in the Democratic primary and his close win in the general election.

"I owe a lot of my election to a lot of Vermonters. There is no question Beth was among hundreds and hundreds of Vermonters that gave me a lot of help, but I don't think I can attribute any one person except luck," said Shumlin, D-Vermont.

Robinson, a gay rights activist for most of her legal career, became the governor's top legal advisor 10 months ago, helping the first-term governor craft legislation and develop policy. Now she joins four others on the bench, hearing appeals from the civil and the criminal court.

There will be cases Robinson will not be able to hear or influence because of conflicts and she brushed aside any suggestion she would become an activist judge because of her past involvement in controversial causes like gay marriage.

"You know I am incredibly proud of the work I was able to be part of in Freedom to Marry. I am certainly proud of it, but I would hate to obscure it with my entire work of my professional life," Robinson said. "So I would hope judge my work on the intellectual rigor of the decisions I am part of rather than sort of a political analysis."

We do not how many other candidates were considered because the process is highly secret, but the governor did say other people were interviewed.

Robinson will not start work on the bench immediately. She still has work to do at the governor's office, but could start on the bench in a few weeks, and eventually she will need to be confirmed by the Vermont State Senate.

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