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Hearing for Vt. judge nominated to the federal bench - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Hearing for Vt. judge nominated to the federal bench

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Sen. Patrick Leahy Sen. Patrick Leahy
Judge Geoffrey Crawford Judge Geoffrey Crawford
WASHINGTON, D.C. -

The Vermont judge nominated to the federal bench is getting a grilling in Washington Wednesday.

Geoffrey Crawford, currently a Vermont Supreme Court Justice, was picked by President Barack Obama to fill a vacancy on the federal court. He must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate and first must convince the Senate Judiciary Committee. He has the clear support of the chairman, Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont.

"I was struck by his brilliance, his compassion, his humility, and his devotion to his family," said Sen. Leahy.

"For many people we are in the courts, the face of the government that they deal with very directly and it's crucial that they feel that they've been heard fairly and listened to with care," said Judge Crawford.

Judge Crawford encountered more scrutiny from Republican Senator Charles Grassley, who questioned Crawford's support for sentencing drug offenders to treatment instead of jail time. Crawford said he tries to draw a distinction between drug dealers and addicts.

Partisan politics have plagued judicial appointments in recent years with both parties blocking nominations from opposing party presidents. Most of those have been at the appeals court level and there is no indication of opposition for Judge Crawford.

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