Kentucky Court of Justice
Justice David A. Barber formally sworn in as a Supreme Court justice at state Capitol
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Justice David A. Barber was formally sworn in as a justice of the Supreme Court of Kentucky by Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr. at a public investiture service on March 23. Justice Barber was joined by his wife, children and grandchildren at the event. The service took place in the Supreme Court Courtroom at the state Capitol in Frankfort.
Chief Justice Minton, other Supreme Court justices and House Speaker Greg Stumbo were among those who provided remarks during the service. Justice Barber's wife, Paula Richardson, held the Bible for him as he was sworn in.
Gov. Steve Beshear appointed Justice Barber on March 4 to serve as the justice from the 7th Supreme Court District. Justice Barber served as a Court of Appeals judge from 2000 to 2007 and has been an attorney in private practice and public service for more than 33 years.
Chief Justice Minton and Justice Barber served together as Court of Appeals judges.
“I look forward to working with him again as members of the Supreme Court of Kentucky,” Chief Justice Minton said. “I wish him all the best as he begins an exciting new chapter in his career.”
Justice Barber was appointed to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Justice Will T. Scott in January 2015.
The counties in the 7th Supreme Court District are Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Elliott, Floyd, Greenup, Harlan, Johnson, Knott, Lawrence, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Powell, Rowan and Wolfe.
Justice Barber comes to the Supreme Court from his post as a policy and legal adviser to Speaker Stumbo. He served in a similar role as general counsel for the House of Representatives from 1990-1992. During this period, he was appointed by then-Gov. Brereton Jones as an administrative law judge. He presided in workers’ compensation cases for the Kentucky Department of Workers’ Claims.
In private practice, Justice Barber was most recently a partner in the law firm of Richardson, Barber & Williamson in Owingsville. He was a founding partner of Stumbo, Bowling & Barber, which grew into the largest firm in Eastern Kentucky representing injured people. Justice Barber began in private law practice in Prestonsburg, where he practiced law by day with Woodrow Burchett and taught history at night at Prestonsburg Community College.
Justice Barber has been in public service since earning his juris doctor from the University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law. He was the attorney for the city of Martin and the Floyd County School Board in the five years after law school and then was elected as Floyd County attorney.
He has served as a member of the Judicial Nominating Commission, the Legislative Ethics Commission and the Kentucky Bar Association’s Legislative Outreach Committee. He did post-graduate judicial studies at Harvard University while serving as a Court of Appeals judge.
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.