Kentucky Court of Justice
Judicial Nominating Commission announces names of nominees to fill vacant Circuit Court judgeship in Jefferson County
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- The Judicial Nominating Commission, led by Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr., met today at the Jefferson County Judicial Center in Louisville to chose nominees to replace the late Judge Kathleen Voor Montano, who passed away April 21, 2008. The vacant circuit judgeship serves the 30th Judicial Circuit, Division 10, consisting of Jefferson County. Three Louisville attorneys were named as nominees to fill this vacancy: Margaret E. Keane,
Irvin G. Maze and Theodore S. (Ted) Shouse.
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 the governor for review. When the governor appoints the replacement, his office makes the announcement.
Makeup of the Judicial Nominating Commission
The Judicial Nominating Commission is established in the Kentucky Constitution. Ky. Const. § 118; SCR 6.000, et. Seq. The commission has seven members, which are comprised of the chief justice of Kentucky (who also serves as chair), two lawyers elected by all the lawyers in their circuit and four Kentucky citizens who are appointed by the governor. The four citizens appointed by the governor must equally represent the two major political parties, so two must be Democrats and two must be Republicans. It is the responsibility of the commission to submit a list of three names to the governor and the governor must appoint a judge from this list of three.
Circuit Court is the court of general jurisdiction which hears civil matters involving more than $4,000, capital offenses and felonies, divorces, adoptions, termination of parental rights, land dispute title cases and contested probate cases.
Note: Per the Office of Secretary of State, if a judicial vacancy is accepted prior to Aug. 4, 2008, then the race will go on the ballot for the November 2008 general election. The filing deadline for the general election is Aug. 12. The elected judge would immediately be eligible to be sworn into office upon certification of the election results by the State Board of Elections. If a judicial vacancy is accepted on Aug. 4, 2008 or thereafter, the race will appear on the 2010 ballot. Again, the elected judge would immediately be eligible to be sworn into office upon certification of the election results by the State Board of Elections. Any appointments made by the governor will serve until the certification of the election results by the State Board of Elections.
All candidate filing procedures and the election calendar can be found on the Office of Secretary of State Web site at www.sos.ky.gov/elections/procedures.htm.