Kentucky Court of Justice
Chief Justice Lambert announces members of first Judicial Campaign Conduct Committee in Kentucky
FRANKFORT, Ky., July 25, 2005 ¾ Chief Justice Joseph E. Lambert announced today that 21 individuals have agreed to serve on the first Judicial Campaign Conduct Committee formed in Kentucky. The committee will be chaired by Anthony M. Wilhoit, retired chief judge of the Kentucky Court of Appeals and current executive director of the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission.
"2006 will be an unprecedented election year for Kentucky judicial campaigns," said Chief Justice Lambert. "Based on a 1992 Constitutional amendment that modified state election cycles, all of the state's 259 judges and five of the seven Supreme Court justices are up for election in 2006." (See explanation of the change in election cycles at end of news release.)
Chief Justice Lambert said the independent committee is being implemented based on a model used by other states to encourage ethical campaign behavior. "We want this committee to help Kentucky voters reach an informed decision on the candidates for judicial office. Because of the hundreds of judicial elections taking place in 2006, it is important to encourage and support appropriate conduct by individuals running for judgeships."
According to the chief justice, the committee members will form their own policies and procedures, and operate as an independent entity. The members were selected from throughout Kentucky and will volunteer their time to this endeavor.
"I believe the people of Kentucky will benefit most from the work of this committee," said Judge Wilhoit, chair of the Judicial Campaign Conduct Committee. "Citizens need to know which judicial candidates are willing to adhere to high standards in carrying out their election campaigns. The standards a candidate lives by in an election are a pretty good gauge of the standards the candidate will live by if elected."
"I have long had an interest in judicial campaigns," said Al Cross, director of the Institute for Rural Journalism & Community Issues and a member of the committee. "I look forward to helping voters and the state's news media recognize that a candidate's campaign tactics can reflect on how he or she might serve as a judge."
Members of the Judicial Campaign Conduct Committee are listed below:
Judicial Campaign Conduct Committee
Anthony M. Wilhoit, Committee Chair
Retired chief judge of the Kentucky Court of Appeals
Current executive director of the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission.
Sandra Ardrey, Ph.D.
Head, Political Science Department
Western Kentucky University
Retired Supreme Court justice/2nd Appellate District
Victor Ballestero, Ed.D.
Professor, Department of Leadership and Secondary Education
Morehead State University
William E. Cofield
Institute for Rural Journalism & Community Issues
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications
Charles E. English
English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley LLP
Jon L. Fleischaker
Dinsmore & Shohl LLP
William H. Fortune
Professor of Law and Associate Dean of Students
University of Kentucky College of Law
Robert F. Houlihan
Savage, Elliott, Houlihan, Moore, Mullins & Erdmann LLP
McCracken County Public Library
Kentucky League of Women Voters
Bowles, Rice, McDavid, Graff & Love LLP
Marcia Milby Ridings
Hamm, Milby & Ridings
William T. Robinson III
Greenebaum, Doll & McDonald PLLC
2005 University of Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame Inductee
Sister Margaret Stallmeyer, CDP
Thomas More College
Former state senator
Coal Industry Executive
Director of First Security Bank/Lexington
Elaine A. Wilson
Associate Facility Director
Background on Change in Kentucky Judicial Election Cycles
The reason for the large number of judicial campaigns in 2006 can be found in the language (below) of the 1992 amendment to the Kentucky Constitution that made several significant changes to the state's election process, including the move to have a non-election year every fourth year. This meant that circuit and Court of Appeals judges elected in 1999 served only seven-year terms, instead of eight-year terms, with all of them up for re-election in 2006.
Language of Constitutional Amendment #2 from the November 1992 General Election
Are you in favor of (1) permitting the Governor and other state officers elected in 1995 and after to be eligible to serve two consecutive terms; (2) electing the Governor and Lieutenant Governor by casting one vote for both offices; (3) giving the Lieutenant Governor duties as assigned by the Governor and the General Assembly, with the Senate selecting a senator to act as President of the Senate; (4) allowing the Governor to retain power while absent from the state, and transferring power to the Lieutenant Governor only if the Governor cannot discharge the duties of office; (5) removing the provision requiring an election to fill a vacancy in the Governor's office that occurs in the first two years of the term; (6) if the Governor and Lieutenant Governor cannot act, transferring power to the Attorney General and then to the Auditor; (7) eliminating the offices of Register of Land Office and Superintendent of Public Instruction as elective offices; (8) permitting the General Assembly to require the Senate's consent to the selection of inferior state officers and members of boards and commissions; and (9) moving all elections (except elections for state constitutional officers) to even-numbered years by adding one year to the terms of all officials regularly elected in 1993, adding one year to the terms of local officials elected in 1995, and subtracting one year from the terms of circuit judges and judges of the court of appeals in 1999