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The Vermont Supreme Court is the highest judicial authority of the U.S. state of Vermont and is one of seven state courts of Vermont. The Court consists of a chief justice and four associate justices; the Court mostly hears appeals of cases that have been decided by other courts. The Supreme Court justices are appointed by the Governor of Vermont with confirmation by the Vermont Senate. When a judicial vacancy occurs, the judicial nominating board submits to the governor the names of as many persons as it deems qualified for appointment. All Supreme Court justices come up for retention at the same time every six years. The next retention year is 2011. The Joint Committee on Judicial Retention reviews a justice’s performance during the previous term and recommends to the Vermont General Assembly whether the justice should be retained. The committee consists of four House members appointed by the Speaker of the House and four Senate members appointed by the Committee on Committees. After open debate and discussion, the General Assembly votes by secret ballot. Vermont judges may be removed in one of two ways: (1) Judges may be impeached by a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly and convicted by a two-thirds vote of the Senate, and (2) a Judicial Conduct Board investigates complaints of judicial misconduct or disability and recommends any necessary action to the Supreme Court.
Vermont is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. Vermont is the 6th least extensive and the 2nd least populous of the 50 United States. It is the only New England state not bordering the Atlantic Ocean. Lake Champlain forms half of Vermont’s western border, which it shares with the state of New York. The Green Mountains are within the state. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, New Hampshire to the east, New York to the west, and the Canadian province of Quebec to the north.
Originally inhabited by two major Native American tribes (the Algonquian-speaking Abenaki and the Iroquois), much of the territory that is now Vermont was claimed by France in the early colonial period. France ceded the territory to the Kingdom of Great Britain after being defeated in 1763 in the Seven Years’ War (also called the French and Indian War). For many years, the nearby colonies, especially New Hampshire and New York, disputed control of the area (then called the New Hampshire Grants). Settlers who held land titles granted by these colonies were opposed by the Green Mountain Boys militia, which eventually prevailed in creating an independent state, the Vermont Republic. Founded in 1777, during the Revolutionary War, it lasted for fourteen years. Vermont is one of 17 U.S. states (along with Texas, Hawaii, the brief California Republic, and each of the original 13 Colonies) that each once had a sovereign government. In 1791, Vermont joined the United States as the 14th state, the first outside the original 13 Colonies. It abolished slavery while independent and upon joining the Union became the first state to have done so.