Douglas hopes to name new Supreme Court justice soon

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(Host) Governor Jim Douglas says he hopes to fill a vacancy on the Vermont Supreme Court in the near future. Douglas has received a second list of potential nominees from the state’s Judicial Nominating Board. The governor rejected the board’s first group of nominees this winter because Douglas felt the board had excluded a number of qualified candidates from their final list.

The entire selection process is supposed to be secret, however some details about the first group did emerge during the initial review. Douglas says he’s about to conduct interviews with the new nominees and he says it’s too soon to determine if the new list is any better than the first one:

(Douglas) “I have more names, so that’s good. I guess I’m not sure I can answer that honestly at this point until I review the candidates and talk with them.”

(Host) Douglas wants to make a decision about a new justice in the coming weeks. Until that time former Chief Justice Frederic Allen will continue to hear cases so that the Court can operate with five justices:

(Douglas) “I certainly would like to reach a decision fairly soon, although Chief Justice Emeritus Allen is doing a fine job filling in. I said to Fred at one point this summer, ‘You know, now that the Legislature has raised the age to 90 – what’s the rush?”

(Host) Douglas is urging the Legislature to make changes to the Judicial Nominating process that would restrict the board’s ability to screen candidates who have applied for a judicial vacancy.

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