On Wednesday, April 26, 2017, Judge Karen Carroll took the oath of office of the Vermont Supreme Court, joining Chief Justice Paul Reiber and Associate Justices Marilyn Skoglund, Beth Robinson, and Harold E. Eaton, Jr. on the five-member Supreme Court bench.
Justice Carroll was confirmed unanimously by the Vermont Senate after being nominated by Governor Phil Scott, who highlighted her qualities of "character, competence, commitment and chemistry" during the ceremony. Governor Scott also noted the historic significance of her appointment, which marks the first time the Vermont Supreme Court has had a majority of female justices.
"To all the young women and men watching us and learning from us, achieving success really is about hard work, about putting in the long hours, the sleepless nights and making those difficult decisions," Governor Scott said. "Success is not something you’re handed, it’s something you earn. It’s something that anyone of us can achieve if we put the needs of others first."
"I hope to bring with me what I think I added to the trial court bench, which was a fair, unbiased perspective and interpretation of the law," Justice Carroll said. "And have the state of Vermont see I will uphold the law in a fair and impartial way." She also thanked her family and her many colleagues and friends who helped her throughout her career.
Justice Carroll was appointed a Superior Court Judge in December 2000 and has since presided in the Family, Criminal and Civil Divisions of the Superior Courts in Windham, Windsor and Bennington Counties. Prior to that, she worked for six years with the Vermont Attorney General's Office as the prosecutor for the Southern Vermont Drug Task Force. During this time, she was also cross-designated as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Vermont and prosecuted serious drug cases in the U.S. District Court.
From 1988 to 1994, Justice Carroll was a Deputy State's Attorney in Windham County, prosecuting serious felony cases and assigned as Chief Deputy State’s Attorney for most of that time. She is a former chair of the State Board of Continuing Legal Education and current chair of the Vermont Judiciary Criminal Division Oversight Committee.
A native Vermonter, Justice Carroll graduated from Proctor High School and from Salve Regina College in Newport, R.I. with a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences Degree in Criminal Justice and English and French Literature. She earned her Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Vermont Law School in 1988.