Vermont Supreme Court justice nominated to US appeals court

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A justice on the Vermont Supreme Court who played a role in the state’s passage of the first-in-the-nation civil unions law has been nominated to a seat on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the White House announced Thursday.

The announcement about the nomination of Beth Robinson was part of President Joe Biden’s sixth round of judicial nominations.

Robinson would be the first and only LGBTQ woman to serve on any federal circuit court. Robinson helped argue the case that led to Vermont’s 2000 first-in-the-nation civil unions law, a forerunner of gay marriage.

Vermont’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy said in a statement that Robinson has been a champion of equal rights in the mold of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“I know that, if confirmed, Justice Robinson would serve on the Second Circuit with integrity, humility, and a deep reverence for the rule of law,” Leahy said.

Vermont’s Republican Gov. Phil Scott also praised the nomination of Robinson.

“She will make a great addition to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, bringing the Vermont values of commitment to justice and equality, fairness, and Freedom & Unity to the bench,” Scott said, referring to the Vermont state motto.

Robinson served as co-counsel in the Baker v. State of Vermont lawsuit, in which the Vermont Supreme Court ruled that the state’s prohibition on same-sex marriage denied equal rights guaranteed by the Vermont Constitution. It led to the 2000 law passed by the Vermont Legislature of the state’s civil unions law, the first law of its kind in the country.

Vermont lawmakers passed marriage equality legislation in 2009. In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

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