Kentucky Court of Justice
John D. Minton Jr. elected new chief justice of Kentucky
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- On Monday, May 12, the justices of the Supreme Court of Kentucky elected the first new leader of the Judicial Branch in a decade. The justices chose John D. Minton Jr. as the fifth chief justice of Kentucky. Justice Minton will succeed Chief Justice Joseph E. Lambert, who announced April 24 that he would retire June 27.
Chief Justice Lambert will administer the oath of office for Chief Justice-Elect Minton at a formal investiture service at the Capitol on Friday, June 27. The public and the media will be invited to attend the swearing-in ceremony.
"I am honored by the vote of my colleagues," said Justice Minton in response to being elected chief justice. "I look forward to working with the members of the Court and the Court of Justice family in service to the citizens of the Commonwealth."
"Justice Minton is an outstanding scholar and a person of unquestioned integrity," said Chief Justice Lambert. "His experience serving as a judge for three levels of Kentucky courts equips him well to be an outstanding chief justice. I am delighted with his election."
Other justices on the Supreme Court are Deputy Chief Justice Will T. Scott and Justices Lisabeth Hughes Abramson, Bill Cunningham, Mary C. Noble and Wil Schroder.
Profile of Justice Minton
Justice Minton, 56, was elected to the Supreme Court of Kentucky in November 2006 to represent the 2nd Supreme Court District. He had been appointed to the high court on July 24, 2006, to fill a vacancy created by Supreme Court Justice William S. Cooper, who retired June 30, 2006. Prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court, Justice Minton served as a judge for the Kentucky Court of Appeals, representing the 2nd Appellate District. He was elected to the Court of Appeals in November 2003 and served there until his appointment to the Supreme Court in July 2006.
He was a circuit judge from 1992 to 2003 for the 8th Judicial Circuit, which consists of Warren County, before being elected to the Court of Appeals. From 1996 to 2003, he also served by special appointment of the late Chief Justice Robert F. Stephens and Chief Justice Lambert as chief regional judge for the Green River Region, a 21-county area.
While on the circuit bench, Justice Minton was recognized by the Kentucky Court of Justice for his leadership in forming the Warren County Drug Court and for his commitment to law-related education programs. In 2003, the Kentucky Bar Association honored him with its Outstanding Judge Award. He is also a graduate of the National Judicial College.
Before his election to the Circuit Court bench, Justice Minton practiced law in Bowling Green for nearly 15 years. He earned a bachelor's degree with honors in history and English from Western Kentucky University in 1974 and a law degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 1977. Justice Minton is a member of Broadway United Methodist Church in Bowling Green. He serves on the board of the Student Life Foundation at Western Kentucky University. He is also a member and past president of the Bowling Green Rotary Club and a former member of the board of directors of Shakertown at South Union.
Originally from Cadiz, Ky., Justice Minton grew up in Bowling Green where he continues to reside. He is married to the former Susan Lenell Page, a Bowling Green native. They have a daughter, Page Sullivan Minton, and a son, John D. Minton III.
Justice Minton is the son of Dr. and Mrs. John D. Minton of Bowling Green. Dr. Minton previously served at Western Kentucky University as a history professor and as the fifth president of that institution.
Quotes From Professional Colleagues
John Stanley Palmore
Chief Justice of Kentucky, 1977-1982
"I am proud of Justice Minton. I have long known him and his father. As a fellow Bowling Green boy, I believe this is a great tribute to the Warren County Bar Association. Justice Minton is a wonderful person and will be a wonderful chief justice."
Sara W. Combs, Chief Judge
Kentucky Court of Appeals
"It was an unfailing pleasure to work with John Minton at the Court of Appeals before he joined the Supreme Court. His integrity, good will, intelligence and gentle manner all contribute to make him an ideal choice to lead the Court of Justice."
Robert W. McGinnis, Chief Regional Circuit Judge
Harrison, Nicholas, Pendleton and Robertson Counties
"Justice Minton's exceptional service as a trial judge and chief regional judge uniquely qualify him to perform both judicial and administrative functions as our next chief justice. His uncommon ability to get along with his fellow judges earned their utmost respect and will serve him well as he leads the judiciary."
Diane Thompson, Nelson County Circuit Court Clerk
President of the Kentucky Association of Circuit Court Clerks
"I have had the honor of working with Justice Minton for many years. His integrity and knowledge of all levels of our court system are unprecedented. I am confident that he will provide tremendous support to circuit court clerks because he understands the critical function of our office. The citizens of our Commonwealth will truly benefit from Justice Minton being elected our new chief justice."
Charles E. English, Attorney at Law
English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley LLP, Bowling Green, Ky.
"I have known Justice Minton for a long time. He is bright, kind and has a good judicial temperament. I believe he will make an excellent chief justice."
Supreme Court of Kentucky
The Supreme Court of Kentucky is the state's highest court. The seven justices are elected from seven appellate court districts and serve eight-year terms. The Kentucky Constitution provides that the Supreme Court justices elect one of their fellow justices to serve as chief justice for a term of four years. As executive head of the statewide judicial system, the chief justice oversees the Administrative Office of the Courts in Frankfort and the 4,000 statewide employees of the Kentucky Court of Justice, including elected justices, judges and circuit court clerks. The chief justice proposes a biennial budget to the General Assembly and executes the Judicial Branch budget.
Chief Justices of the Supreme Court of Kentucky
John D. Minton Jr., June 27, 2008-
Joseph E. Lambert, 1998-2008
Robert F. Stephens, 1982-1998
John Stanley Palmore, 1977-1982
Scott E. Reed, 1976-1977
Salary of the Chief Justice of Kentucky