Kentucky Supreme Court

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Kentucky Supreme Court
Kentucky Supreme Court Chamber.jpg
The chamber of the Kentucky Supreme Court
Established 1976
Country Kentucky Kentucky, United States United States
Location Frankfort, Kentucky
Composition method Non-partisan election
Authorized by Kentucky Constitution
Decisions are appealed to Supreme Court of the United States
Judge term length 8 Years
Number of positions 7
Website Official Website
Chief Justice
Currently John D. Minton, Jr.
Since 2008
Lead position ends 2015
Jurist term ends 2015

The Kentucky Supreme Court was created by a 1975 constitutional amendment and is the state supreme court of the U.S. state of Kentucky. Prior to that the Kentucky Court of Appeals was the only appellate court in Kentucky. The Kentucky Court of Appeals is now Kentucky's intermediate appellate court.

Criminal appeals involving a sentence of death, life imprisonment, or imprisonment of twenty years or more go directly to the Kentucky Supreme Court, bypassing the Kentucky Court of Appeals. Other appeals are heard on a discretionary basis on appeal from the Kentucky Court of Appeals.

The Kentucky Supreme Court promulgates the Rules of Court and Rules of Evidence. Through two of its subagencies, the Kentucky Office of Bar Admissions (KYOBA) and Kentucky Bar Association (KBA), it is the final arbiter for bar admissions (KYOBA) and discipline (KBA).

In the event that two or more justices of the Kentucky Supreme Court recuse themselves from a case, the Governor of Kentucky appoints Special Justices to sit for that particular case.

The court meets in a courtroom located on the second floor of the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort. The second floor of the capitol building is also home to offices for the justices and Supreme Court personnel.

The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), under the aegis of the Kentucky Supreme Court, serves as the administrative support agency for Kentucky courts and Circuit Court Clerks. The role of the AOC is similar to that of the Legislative Research Commission (LRC) for the Kentucky General Assembly.

Notable Cases[edit]

In its short history, the Kentucky Supreme Court has not produced much jurisprudence of note. A study published in 2007 by the Supreme Court of California found that of all state supreme courts in the United States, the decisions of the Kentucky Supreme Court were the least followed by other states' appellate courts.[1]

Notable decisions of the Kentucky Supreme Court include Kentucky v. Wasson, 842 S.W.2d 487 (Ky. 1992), in which the court invalidated the criminalization of same-sex sodomy as an Equal Protection violation. This Kentucky decision, based on the Kentucky Constitution, was made at a time when the applicable federal Equal Protection precedent was Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U.S. 186 (1986), which held that federal constitutional protection of the right of privacy was not implicated in laws penalizing homosexual sodomy. In 2003 the United States Supreme Court reversed itself and overturned Bowers, issuing a decision in Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003) that mirrored Kentucky's Wasson ruling. While some thought the Kentucky Supreme Court Wasson opinion to have been progressive, others criticized the opinion for having no basis in the 1890 Kentucky Constitution. Some critics noted that the minutes of the 1890 Kentucky Constitutional Convention were stenographically recorded and showed no indication that the framers intended to decriminalize homosexual behavior.[2] The opinion also influenced the decision of at least some Kentucky voters who, on November 2, 2004, approved a referendum to amend the Kentucky Constitution and adopt the Defense of Marriage[3] Amendment, effectively depriving the Kentucky Supreme Court of the ability to rule that the state constitution permitted same sex marriage.

Justices[edit]

The Court has seven justices, each of whom is elected for an eight-year term from one of seven geographic districts in non-partisan elections. The justices' terms are staggered; they do not all run for election in the same years. The justices choose one of their number to serve a four-year term as chief justice; the first chief justice was Samuel Steinfeld, who had been the chief justice of the Appeals Court since 1972.

Justice District Date Service Began Term Ends
John D. Minton, Jr. (Chief Justice)
2nd
2006
2015
Bill Cunningham
1st
2007
2015
Daniel J. Venters
3rd
2008
2016
Lisabeth Hughes Abramson
4th
2007
2016
Mary C. Noble (Deputy Chief Justice)
5th
2007
2016
Michelle M. Keller
6th
2013
2015
Will T. Scott
7th
2004
2019

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jake Dear and Edward W. Jessen, " Followed Rates" and Leading State Cases, 1940-2005, 41 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 683, 694(2007).
  2. ^ Minutes of the 1890 Kentucky Constitutional Convention
  3. ^ "Section 233A". Lrc.ky.gov. 2004-11-02. Retrieved 2013-09-21. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°11′12″N 84°52′31″W / 38.186776°N 84.875334°W / 38.186776; -84.875334