On November 22, 2023

Governor Scott appoints five Superior Court judges


Governor Phil Scott announced Nov. 17 his appointment of five Vermont Superior Court Judges: Benjamin Battles of Waterbury, Susan McManus of Manchester Center, Rachel Malone of South Burlington, Alexander Burke of Arlington, and Navah Spero of Richmond.

“As I have often said, selecting judges is one of the most important responsibilities for any governor,” said Governor Scott. “When appointing a judge, you’re literally putting justice, and people’s lives and livelihoods, into someone’s hands. It’s critical to identify appointees who are fair, impartial, and committed to the calling of public service and safety. I’m confident that these new judges will meet the responsibilities and high level of trust Vermonters put in them.” 

The five Superior Court Judge appointees will be sworn in the coming weeks.



Benjamin Battles

Battles has worked at the Vermont Attorney General’s Office for nine years. He has served as Chief of the General Counsel and Administrative Law Division, overseeing more than 30 attorneys and staff providing legal services to the state of Vermont, and as Solicitor General, where he supervised and conducted the state’s appellate litigation in the Vermont Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Thank you to Governor Scott for his trust in me,” said Battles. “I have been honored to serve the people of Vermont as an Assistant Attorney General and I am grateful for the chance to continue my public service as a Superior Judge.”

In addition to his government service, Battles has practiced at several law firms in Vermont and New York, and taught state constitutional law at Vermont Law & Graduate School. He graduated from the University of Vermont and Brooklyn Law School and served as a law clerk to the Honorable Dora Irizarry, U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of New York, and to the Honorable Morton Greenberg, U.S. Circuit Judge for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.





Navah Spero

Spero currently works as a partner at Gravel & Shea PC. Prior to joining the firm as an associate, she worked as a law clerk for the Superior Court of Washington, D.C. Her litigation practice includes a wide variety of civil litigation, with a focus on commercial disputes, trust and estate conflicts, and representing plaintiffs in negligence cases.

“I am grateful for Governor Scott’s faith in me and humbled by this opportunity to serve the people of Vermont. I commit to do so with integrity, diligence, and respect for those who come before the court.”

Spero has served as specially appointed disciplinary counsel before the Professional Responsibility Board and has appeared in the courts of almost every county in the State and in the Vermont Supreme Court.  She currently serves on the Vermont Advisory Committee on the Rules of Civil Procedure and is a past-president of the Chittenden County Bar Association. She received a B.A. in History from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from the George Washington University Law School.




“Selecting judges is one of the most important responsibilities for any governor,” said Governor Scott.

“When appointing a judge, you’re literally putting justice, and people’s lives and livelihoods,

into someone’s hands. It’s critical to identify appointees who are fair, impartial,

and committed to the calling of public service and safety.”



Susan McManus

McManus has been a public defender in Vermont for the last 13 years, practicing in both Windham and Bennington Counties. Prior to that, she was an associate attorney with the firm Barr Sternberg Moss Lawrence Silver Saltonstall & Fenster in Bennington, Vermont, where she practiced family, civil and criminal law. McManus is a member and past-president of the Vermont Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

“I am truly grateful to Governor Scott for this opportunity and am honored by his faith in me, said McManus.” I look forward to continuing to serve the people of Vermont as a member of the judiciary.”

McManus graduated from Vermont Law School in 2007. She received her B.A. in English from Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut in 2004. 




Alexander Burke

A lifelong resident of Vermont, Burke has been a prosecutor in Bennington County since 2010, practicing in the Criminal and Family Divisions.  Burke earned a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy from Boston College and a J.D. from American University, Washington College of Law.  He is a member of the Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Remote Hearings and has been an active board member for several local non-profit organizations. 

“I am honored by the opportunity to continue to serve the people of Vermont in this new capacity as a Superior Court Judge. I am humbled by Governor Scott’s appointment, and I look forward to presiding in a fair, impartial, and just manner.”






Rachel Malone

Malone has been a Judicial Master in Chittenden and Franklin Counties since 2020. In this role, she has helped develop and now presides in the Chittenden County Family Treatment Docket, which offers support and oversight to parents with substance use disorder. Rachel started her career as a public defender in Chittenden County, where she represented indigent defendants in Criminal Court and children and parents in Juvenile Court.  She served for two years as the public defender representative to the Adult Treatment Court in Chittenden County.

“In my time as a public defender and judicial master, I have been fortunate to work with and learn from a wide range of attorneys, social workers, probation officers, and other service providers, who shared a common goal of improving the lives of Vermonters,” said Malone. “I am also forever grateful to my former clients and treatment court participants for placing their faith in me, as an advocate and as a judicial officer, and for their willingness to share their struggles. I am deeply honored by Governor Scott’s decision to entrust me with this position, and I will continue to strive to treat all people served by the Court fairly and equitably, and with dignity.”

Malone graduated summa cum laude from Case Western Reserve University with a B.A. in Philosophy and Theater. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Bulgaria, where she taught English in local primary and secondary schools.  She received a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.

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