Vermont Justice Skoglund announces retirement, eyes bartending school and spanish

Local News

Vermont’s Supreme Court will lose its longest tenured member this fall.

“I haven’t been scared with a new challenge for a while and I’ve always said if I ever get a chance, I’ll take one,” said Justice Marilyn Skoglund.

After more than two decades on Vermont’s top court, Skoglund is hanging up her robe, something she’s has kept secret from her colleagues on the bench.

“I think they were pretty surprised, I always said I would drop dead on the bench,” she said.

Having never attended law school, Skoglund’s path to the bench has been all but ordinary. It started with a four year clerkship at the attorney general’s office before taking the bar exam.

“I passed it and they kept me on, because I’ve got a good work ethic, and they made me an assistant attorney general,” she said.

Skoglund would be appointed a district court judge in 1994. In 1997, she was sworn in as an associate justice of the Vermont Supreme Court.

One of the first tasks Skoglund took on was to spruce up the first floor hallway of the Supreme Court building with work from Vermont artists.

“I would come in on the weekends with the artists, hammer nails into the wall and hang the pictures,” she recalled.

The 72 year-old informed Governor Phil Scott of her retirement plans with a one-sentence letter Monday.

The governor says he will miss Skoglund’s candidness and sense of humor.

The Judicial Nominee Board will present Scott with a pool of candidates for the job. This will mark his second appointment to the panel.

When asked if a woman should be chose to succeed her, she said, “I don’t care in the least, it just doesn’t matter, it’s the law, the law in gender-neutral as applied.”

Skoglund says she’s got lots of plans once September rolls around including teaching a state constitutional law class at Middlebury College alongside her former counterpart, Justice John Dooley.

She is also thinking about some other endeavors un-related to law, “I want to learn to be a bartender, I just want to do different things, and I have also signed up at UVM for Spanish.”

As her time at the Supreme Court comes to a close, a recent tattoo on her right wrist helps reaffirm her decision to think beyond the bench.

“I got Jag är mätt in Swedish on my arm because it kind of sums up how I feel, I’m satisfied, I’m lucky, I’m satisfied,” she said showing off the ink.

Justice Skoglund’s final day on the bench is September 1st.

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