Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Ernie Fletcher Appoints Judge William McAnulty to Supreme Court
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher has appointed Court of Appeals Judge William E. McAnulty Jr., to the Kentucky Supreme Court. Judge McAnulty replaces Justice Martin E. Johnstone, who is retiring effective June 30.
“For the majority of the last three decades, Judge McAnulty has tirelessly served the Commonwealth, giving unselfishly of his time and abilities for the cause of justice. He is the natural choice for this appointment, and it is well deserved,” said Governor Ernie Fletcher.
“This is certainly a historic occasion and long overdue in Kentucky,” said Chief Judge Sara Combs of the Kentucky Court of Appeals. “It is good to see Kentucky breaking ground ahead of many of our sister states in naming the first African-American to its highest court. Judge McAnulty has been a great addition to the Kentucky Court of Appeals. While we hate to see him leave our ranks, we nevertheless rejoice at the reason for his departure.”
Judge McAnulty added, “I am most humbled and honored to have been selected by Governor Fletcher to succeed Justice Martin Johnstone on the Kentucky Supreme Court. This is yet another positive step toward my goal of serving a full term on Kentucky's highest court.”
Born in Indianapolis in 1947, Judge McAnulty received his bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and his master’s and juris doctorate from the University of Louisville. He is a member of the Kentucky Bar Association and the Louisville Bar Association.
In 1975, Judge McAnulty began his judicial career, serving first in the Jefferson County Juvenile Court and then in Jefferson District Court. In 1984, he was elected to the Jefferson Circuit Court, where he served until 1990. After a brief tenure of private practice, Judge McAnulty was appointed to the Circuit Court Bench in 1993, then to the Kentucky Court of Appeals in November 1998. In 1998, he served as chief judge of the Jefferson Circuit Court.
In 2001, Judge McAnulty was appointed by Chief Justice Joseph Lambert to chair a committee on racial fairness, studying whether Jefferson Circuit Court Judges were making sentencing decisions based on race. That committee culminated with a report released in 2005 reminding judges to guard against allowing race to factor into sentencing decisions.
Judge McAnulty and his wife, Kristi W. McAnulty, have four children – Patrick, Katheryn, William III and Shannon.