- Fall 2004
JEFFREY AMESTOY became the 38th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Vermont on January 31, 1997, appointed by Governor Howard Dean. Amestoy began his career in public service in 1974 as legal counsel for the Governor's Commission on the Administration of Justice. He served as Assistant Attorney General from 1974-1981 where his responsibilities included prosecution of white-collar crime and judicial misconduct. After earning a Master's degree at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government in 1982 he was appointed Commissioner of Labor and Industry for Vermont where he served before running for Attorney General.
Amestoy was first elected Attorney General of Vermont in 1984 and was re-elected six times. In five of those elections he was the nominee of the Republican and Democratic parties. In 1992-1993 Amestoy served as President of the National Association of Attorneys General. In 1999 Amestoy was author of the Vermont Supreme Court's opinion in Baker v. State which held that same-sex couples were constitutionally entitled to the rights and benefits of marriage. The court ordered the Vermont legislature to craft a law that would satisfy the ruling, either by legalizing gay marriage or by creating an equivalent partnership structure.