NEWS: Sanders, Welch Announce Opening of Applications for Expected Vacancy on Vermont Federal Bench

BURLINGTON, Vt., Nov. 7 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) today announced the formation of a Judicial Nomination Advisory Panel to fill the expected vacancy on the federal bench in the District of Vermont, created by Chief Judge Geoffrey Crawford stepping down from active service.

As federal judicial nominees go through the Senate, Sanders and Welch are standing up a joint Judicial Nomination Advisory Panel to screen candidates and make recommendations, continuing the tradition established by the late Sen. Robert Stafford and Sen. Patrick Leahy. Sanders and Welch, in consultation with Rep. Becca Balint (D-Vt.) and the Vermont Bar Association, will make recommendations to the White House to fill the vacancy. The White House will then evaluate the senators’ recommendations and announce a nominee. The Advisory Panel is now accepting applications for the expected vacancy, the duty station for which will be in Rutland.

“Federal judges are not only an essential part of our everyday lives, but are a key pillar of our democracy,” said Sanders and Welch. “We must continue to ensure that our state has a full complement of highly qualified judges on the federal bench, and a selection process based on merit and transparency ensures just that. I look forward to the judicial selection process in our state, a high-standard process that is a model for the rest of the country.”

Candidates interested in being considered for appointment to fill the vacancy should provide the Committee with a completed questionnaire, which is available on the VBA website at A complete application will consist of the questionnaire along with three professional references and a personal statement. The deadline for returning a complete application is Friday, December 1, 2023.

Any candidate submitted to the senators may be subject to a full background investigation by federal law enforcement, vetting by the White House, further vetting by Senate staff, and Senate confirmation. Applications will be held confidential to the greatest extent possible.

The state of Vermont has two federal district court judges, with the most recent vacancy taking place in 2014.