September 16, 2022

Vermont Judiciary Establishes Commission on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

New Commission will consider ways to ensure equity practices within the branch

In recognition of its constitutional obligation to protect the rights of all Vermonters through access to the courts and to administer justice impartially, the Vermont Judiciary has established a Commission on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).

Co-chaired by Chief Justice Paul Reiber and Associate Justice Nancy Waples, the Commission was established following several months of study and planning. It is comprised of representatives from within and outside the Judiciary.

According to the Supreme Court’s order establishing the Commission, its aim is to identify disparities in the justice system, understand the causes, evaluate solutions, and implement change.

“The Commission provides us with a forum in which issues that are central to the Judiciary’s mission can be considered through an equity lens,” said Justice Waples. “I am grateful for the willingness of our key partners to join us in this work, and I am looking forward to their input,” she added.

The Commission held an organizational meeting in late August and will meet again in late September. The co-chairs expect the Commission to establish committees to take up a review of DEI-related practices and operations within the Judiciary.

“Public organizations, including courts, need to regularly evaluate their performance in this area,” said Scott Griffith, Commission member and the Judiciary’s Chief of Planning and Court Services. “There is a lot that is happening in Vermont and in state court systems around the country to address DEI-related practices. We plan to learn, and benefit, from these efforts,” he noted.

More information is available on the Commission’s webpage.