Senate unanimously OKs Crawford
By JASPER CRAVEN
For the RUTLAND HERALD | June 25,2014
WASHINGTON — Vermont Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey Crawford secured a seat on Vermont’s U.S. District Court in a unanimous Senate floor vote Tuesday.
The final floor vote for Crawford’s nomination was 95-0. Five senators abstained from voting.
“Justice Crawford came highly recommended, well qualified, and broadly experienced,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy in a statement following the vote. “He’s a well-grounded Vermonter and a good fit for Vermont and our federal court.”
Crawford will serve in Rutland’s district court, replacing District Judge William K. Sessions who retired earlier this month. For more than a week now, two judges instead of the regular three have served Vermont’s district court.
Leahy pressed for quick confirmation of Crawford due to Sessions’ retirement and managed to push through that confirmation in 35 days, less time than any judicial nominee in a number of years, according to a Leahy spokesman. The average wait time for judicial nominations to be confirmed since President Obama took office is 228 days.
Leahy spoke with Crawford immediately after the vote to congratulate him.
In Crawford’s confirmation hearing, which occurred in early June, he was met with little backlash. Sen. Chuck Grassley, the top Republican on the committee, questioned Crawford’s stance that some defendants in drug cases should be directed toward rehabilitation programs instead of incarceration.
Crawford defended his thoughts on alternative approaches for defendants in drug cases.
“We’ve seen real change in people’s behaviors, and their ability to support their families, and their ability to return to the rest of us as honest citizens,” Crawford said.
Crawford was a trial court judge in Vermont for 11 years before he became an associate justice on the state Supreme Court in 2013.
“I am confident that he will be a fair and impartial federal judge and that everyone in his courtroom will be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve,” said Sen. Bernard Sanders in a statement Tuesday.
Crawford is expected to submit his notice of resignation from the Vermont Supreme Court to President Barack Obama in the next few days. Obama will then appointment Crawford before he is officially sworn in.
Jasper Craven is affiliated with the Boston University Journalism Program.