Shumlin Appoints Chief Legal Counsel To Vt. Supreme Court

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(Host) Governor Peter Shumlin has appointed his chief lawyer to the Vermont Supreme Court.

Shumlin announced Tuesday that he’s tapped Beth Robinson to fill a vacancy created when Justice Denise Johnson announced her retirement.

Robinson has been Shumlin’s legal counsel since he took office in January.

She gained public notice 14 years ago when she led the legal team that argued the Baker case, which led to civil unions for gay and lesbian couples.

Robinson argued before the Supreme Court that same-sex couples should be given the right to marry.

The court agreed that state law granting marriage benefits only to heterosexual couples was unconstitutional. But the court let the Legislature come up with an alternative and lawmakers adopted civil unions.

Two years ago, the Legislature adopted full marriage for same-sex couples.

In a statement Shumlin said, "Beth’s strong legal background, experience with crafting legislation at the State House and commitment to the equal rights of all Vermonters will make her an exceptional justice on the Vermont Supreme Court."

"I’m humbled by the confidence that Governor Shumlin has placed in me," Robinson said.

Robinson’s appointment will have to be confirmed by the state Senate next winter.



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