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Judicial selection in Kentucky

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Judicial selection in the states
Judicial selection in Kentucky
Seal of Kentucky.png
Kentucky Supreme Court
Method:   Non-partisan election of judges
Term:   8 years
Kentucky Court of Appeals
Method:   Non-partisan election of judges
Term:   8 years
Kentucky Circuit Courts
Method:   Non-partisan election of judges
Term:   8 years
Kentucky District Courts
Method:   Non-partisan election of judges
Term:   4 years

Selection of state court judges in Kentucky occurs exclusively through non-partisan elections. Judges wishing to serve multiple terms must run for re-election.[1]

Under the state constitution, elected judges' terms begin on the first Monday in January following their election.

Supreme Court and Court of Appeals

See also: Non-partisan election of judges

The seven justices of the Kentucky Supreme Court and the fourteen judges of the Kentucky Court of Appeals are elected to eight-year terms in non-partisan elections. They must run for re-election if they wish to serve subsequent terms.[1]

Selection of the chief justice

The chief justice or judge of each court is chosen by peer vote. He or she serves in that capacity for four years.[1]

Qualifications

In order to serve on either of these two courts, a judge must be:

  • a U.S. citizen;
  • a resident of the represented district for at least 2 years;
  • licensed to practice law for at least 8 years.[1]

Vacancies

If a midterm vacancy occurs, the governor appoints a successor from a list of three names provided by the Kentucky Judicial Nominating Commission. The new justice runs for the seat in the next general election, unless the next election is less than three months away. In that case, the judge runs in the following election.[1]

Circuit Court

See also: Non-partisan election of judges

Almost all aspects of selection on the Kentucky Circuit Courts are shared with the appellate courts, including term length, qualifications and policies on interim vacancies. The chief judge of each circuit court, however, serves only a two-year term. (He or she is still selected by peer vote.)[1]

District Court

See also: Non-partisan election of judges

The judges of the Kentucky District Courts, like all other judges, are elected in non-partisan elections. They serve four-year terms and must run for re-election if they wish to serve again.[2][3]

Qualifications

To serve on this court, a judge must be:

  • a U.S. citizen;
  • a resident of the represented district for at least 2 years; and
  • licensed to practice law for at least 2 years.[2]

History

Judicial selection in Kentucky has undergone relatively few changes in the last two centuries. Below is a timeline noting the various stages, from the most recent to the earliest:

  • 1975: Voters approve a constitutional amendment establishing a unified court system to be called the Kentucky Court of Justice. Terms of appellate and circuit court judges are set at 8 years; district court judges are to serve 4-year terms. The article also establishes the Judicial Retirement and Removal Commission (now called the Judicial Conduct Commission).
  • 1850: Judges of the Kentucky Court of Appeals are elected by popular vote to four-year terms; judges of the Kentucky Circuit Courts are elected to six-year terms.
  • 1792: All judges are appointed for life by the governor with senate consent.[4]

Selection of federal judges

United States District Court judges, who are selected from each state, go through a different selection process than that of state judges.

The district courts are served by Article III federal judges who are appointed for life, during "good behavior." They are usually first recommended by senators (or members of the House, occasionally). The President of the United States of America nominates judges, who must then be confirmed by the U.S. Senate in accordance with Article III of the United States Constitution.[5]

Step ApprovedA Candidacy Proceeds DefeatedD Candidacy Halts
1. Recommendation made by Congress member to the President President nominates to Senate Judiciary Committee President declines nomination
2. Senate Judiciary Committee interviews candidate Sends candidate to Senate for confirmation Returns candidate to President, who may re-nominate to committee
3. Senate votes on candidate confirmation Candidate becomes federal judge Candidate does not receive judgeship

See also

External links

References

KentuckyKentucky Supreme CourtKentucky Court of AppealsKentucky Circuit CourtsKentucky District CourtsKentucky Family CourtUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of KentuckyUnited States District Court for the Western District of KentuckyUnited States bankruptcy court, Eastern District of KentuckyUnited States bankruptcy court, Western District of KentuckyUnited States Court of Appeals for the Sixth CircuitKentucky countiesKentucky judicial newsKentucky judicial electionsJudicial selection in KentuckyKentuckyTemplate.jpg