Vertefeuille takes senior status, opening vacancy on Supreme Court

Justice Christine S. Vertefeuille has notified Gov. M. Jodi Rell of her intention to take senior status on the Connecticut Supreme Court, creating a vacancy on the state’s highest court.

(UPDATE: Rell has picked Superior Court Judge Dennis G. Eveleigh of Hamden to succeed Vertefeuille.)

Vertefeuille, 59, who was appointed to the trial bench by Gov. William A. O’Neill in 1989 and to the Supreme Court by Gov. John G. Rowland on January 3, 2000, will take senior status on June 1.

Her letter to Rell was released today in response to press inquiries. It was dated March 22.

“It has been a great honor and privilege for me to hold a seat on this court since January 2000,” she said her in her letter to Rell.”I now look forward to my role as a Senior Justice, continuing to work at the court on a reduced basis.”

It was unclear if Rell, who told legislative leadership today she is about to nominate 10 judges to the Superior Court, is prepared to nominate a successor. Her office is expected to release a statement this afternoon.

UPDATE: Here is Rell’s statement:

“Christine Vertefeuille has been a thoughtful and measured jurist during her decade on the Supreme Court bench,” Governor Rell said. “The trust we place in justices of the Supreme Court is immense – yet it is a challenge Justice Vertefeuille has risen to meet time and again. Whether dealing with fine points of the law or sweeping issues of justice, she has long given the people of our state the benefit of her reason, her compassion and her knowledge of the statutes. I thank her for her many years of service to the State of Connecticut and wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”

Justice Vertefeuille, a graduate of Trinity College, received her law degree from the University of Connecticut in 1975. She was in private practice from 1975 to 1989, when she was appointed to the Superior Court. She was appointed to the Appellate Court in 1999 and made a Justice of the Supreme Court on January 3, 2000. She served as the Administrative Judge of the Appellate System from June 1, 2000 to July 31, 2006.

Judge Eveleigh, 62, has served on the Superior Court in Waterbury since October 1998. A 1969 graduate of Wittenberg University, he obtained his law degree from the University of Connecticut in 1972 and worked as an attorney in private practice prior to being nominated to the bench.

“I have every confidence in Judge Eveleigh and I am grateful he is willing to take on the task of serving on our state’s highest court,” Governor Rell said. “The Supreme Court is the final arbiter of issues that touch all of our lives. Service on the court requires experience, a depth of knowledge and an understanding of the impact that the law can have on everyday life. It also requires a commitment to making the actions and operations of our courts open and transparent to average Connecticut residents. I know that Judge Eveleigh possesses these qualities and shares my commitment to openness – and I believe the Legislature will agree.”