Kentucky Court of Justice
Seven Judicial vacancies to be filled by voters in November election, not by gubernatorial appointment
Chief Justice Joseph E. Lambert announced today that seven judicial vacancies will be filled by election in November instead of by gubernatorial appointment. The Chief Justice said he was making the announcement in response to numerous questions in recent weeks about whether the current vacancies will be filled by appointment prior to the general election in November.
"I have been informed that due to the relatively brief period between now and the Nov. 6 election and the time required for the Judicial Nominating Commission process, Gov. Fletcher will not fill the vacancies by appointment and will allow these seats to be filled by the voters in the November election," said Chief Justice Lambert. "I am pleased by the Governor's decision in this regard. If we started the process immediately, a judge who was appointed would serve only for about two months prior to the election."
Chief Justice Lambert said that this decision will save the Kentucky Court of Justice more than $150,000. "Until new judges are elected and sworn into office, these judicial vacancies will be filled by senior status judges, which typically will be the former judge who has recently retired and been approved to serve as a senior judge. For that reason, the Court of Justice will incur no additional funds for their services."
Chief Justice Lambert has notified the Office of the Secretary of State of vacancies in office in the following judicial circuits:
Circuit Judge, 6th Judicial Circuit, Division 1, Daviess County
Circuit Judge, 9th Judicial Circuit, Division 2, Hardin County
Circuit Judge, 16th Judicial Circuit, Division 1, Kenton County
Circuit Judge, 30th Judicial Circuit, Division 7, Jefferson County
Circuit Judge, 34th Judicial Circuit, Division 1, McCreary and Whitley Counties
Circuit Judge, 41st Judicial Circuit, Division 1, Clay, Jackson and Leslie Counties
Circuit Judge, 51st Judicial Circuit, Division 1, Henderson County
The effective date of the vacancies requires candidates to file for the office with the Secretary of State no later than Aug. 14, 2007, 4 p.m. EDT, for placement on the 2007 general election ballot. Attorneys interested in filing for these positions can obtain candidate filing packets by calling the Election Division in the Office of Secretary of State at 502- 564-3490.
Background on Judicial Nominating Commission: Process for Filling a Judicial Vacancy
When a judicial vacancy occurs, the executive secretary of the Judicial Nominating Commission sends a notice of vacancy to all attorneys in the judicial circuit or the judicial district affected. Attorneys can recommend someone or nominate themselves. Once that occurs, the individuals interested in the position return a questionnaire to the Office of Chief Justice. The Chief Justice of Kentucky then meets with the Judicial Nominating Commission to choose three nominees. Because the Kentucky Constitution requires that three names be submitted to the governor, in some cases the commission submits an attorney's name even though the attorney did not apply. This ensures that there are always three nominees.
The names of the applicants are not released. However, once the Judicial Nominating Commission has determined the names of the three finalists to be sent to the governor for selection, the Judicial Branch makes the names available to the public and the media. The credentials of these three nominees are sent to Gov. Ernie Fletcher for review. When the governor appoints the replacement, his office makes the announcement.