Kentucky’s chief justice won’t seek another term on court
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Kentucky Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. has announced he will not run for reelection next year.
Minton joined the Supreme Court in 2006.
He said Wednesday he wants to give potential candidates ample time to make their decisions whether to enter the campaign.
”It’s been a great honor for me to serve as the Justice for the Supreme Court second district, the fourteen counties of course, comprised of Warren and the counties Northwest of here. It’s been a great honor for me to have that opportunity to serve and there’ve been lots of challenges, but I’ve had a whole lot of support from this area and with the people I worked with in Frankfort. It’s been a great honor and a great pleasure for me,” Justice Minton said.
Minton has lived in Bowling Green since he was 3-years-old. After earning a bachelor’s degree in history and English from Western, his interest in the law took him to the University of Kentucky Rosenberg College of Law, where he graduated in 1977.
He spent 15 years in private practice and 14 years as a judge for the Circuit Court and Court of Appeals before being elected to the Supreme Court in 2006 and becoming chief justice in 2008.
The University of Kentucky Rosenberg College of Law Alumni Association bestowed its highest honor on Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. Oct. 8 in recognition of his body of work as well as exceptional guidance of state courts during the pandemic and past economic downturns.
The UK Law Alumni Association Hall of Fame was established to acknowledge graduates and former faculty of the College whose extraordinary professional success and contributions, profound positive influence on the College of Law, and high degree of character and integrity are recognized by their peers.
Shaye P. Johnson, chair of the Law Alumni Association, presented the following tribute to Chief Justice Minton:
“He is Bowling Green’s native son, who learned to love history from his father, a history professor, administrator and president of Western Kentucky University. Although he spent his childhood with a university campus as his backyard, a career in academia was not to be. After earning a bachelor’s degree in history and English from Western, his interest in the law took him to the University of Kentucky Rosenberg College of Law, where he graduated in 1977.
He spent 15 years in private practice and 14 years as a judge for the Circuit Court and Court of Appeals before being elected to the Supreme Court in 2006 and becoming chief justice in 2008. 2008 was the beginning of the Great Recession, a trial by fire for a new chief justice who was barely sworn in before having to make decisions about deep budget cuts, massive layoffs and the court system’s first closures by furlough.
Those early days prepared him for the many challenges to come and his tenure as head of the Judicial Branch has been marked by integrity, a steady hand, legal acumen and a vision for the future of the courts.
The ambitious KYeCourts initiative is transforming how the courts do business by moving from paper to an electronic record. This years-long effort has produced eFiling in every county, new trial and appellate case management systems, eWarrants, eEPOs and more – all in an effort to improve access to justice by leveraging technology. And the recent infusion of federal rescue funds is fueling work on video arraignment/conferencing, redaction, a self-represented litigant portal and payment kiosks.
He has also invested in the Judicial Branch’s dedicated personnel through improved compensation for court employees, judges and circuit court clerks.
He braved the third rail of state politics by leading efforts to draft Kentucky’s first Judicial Redistricting Plan in decades. And his quick response in the early days of COVID-19 ensured the courts could stay open for business through mostly virtual operations.
He has also worked for penal code, juvenile justice and bail reform; formed a commission to improve civil legal aid for the poor; embraced efforts to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in the courts; and addressed the drug epidemic by moving substance use disorder cases toward a recovery-oriented system of care. His commitment to transparency led to the Supreme Court adopting the
In addition to his many accomplishments across the commonwealth, Chief Justice Minton’s influence has been felt nationally through his service as president of the Conference of Chief Justices and chair of the State Justice Institute Board of Directors.”
The Supreme Court is the state court of last resort and the final interpreter of Kentucky law. Seven justices sit on the Supreme Court and all seven justices rule on appeals that come before the court. The justices are elected from seven appellate districts and serve eight-year terms. A chief justice, chosen for a four-year term by fellow justices, is the administrative head of the state’s court system and is responsible for its operation. The Supreme Court may order a ruling or opinion to be published, which means that the ruling becomes the case law governing all similar cases in the future in Kentucky.
The Administrative Office of the Courts is the operations arm for the state court system and supports the activities of nearly 3,300 employees and 406 elected justices, judges and circuit court clerks. The AOC also executes the Judicial Branch budget.
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