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Choice for Vermont chief justice announced

MONTPELIER, Vt., Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Paul Reiber, a unanimous choice by the state Senate to join the Vermont Supreme Court last year, has been nominated to become the body's chief justice.

Gov. James Douglas, at a Wednesday news conference, said Reiber "is well-respected by the bench, the bar and his community as being a fair, honest, hard-working and thoughtful individual."

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The Vermont Senate must confirm the nomination, but Reiber, 57, of Chittenden, won unanimous approval when he was nominated to the court in September 2003 and should pass easily through that stage of the process to become chief justice.

"I would have told you as recently as two years ago that I had no notion of being on the court, let along become chief justice," the Rutland Herald quoted Reiber as saying. "So it is truly humbling to be here ... and have the governor's confidence to take on this very important role."

Chief Justice Jeffrey Amestoy resigned three months ago to take a position at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, creating the vacancy at the top of the court. The proposed elevation of a sitting court member, leaves the five-member court with one vacancy.

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