Kentucky Supreme Court



The Kentucky Supreme Court was created by a 1975 constitutional amendment and is the state supreme court of the
U.S. state In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory where it shares its so ...
Kentucky Kentucky ( , ), officially the Commonwealth of Kentucky, is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States and one of the states of the Upper South. It borders Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio to the north; West Virginia and Vir ...
. Prior to that the Kentucky Court of Appeals was the only appellate court in
Kentucky Kentucky ( , ), officially the Commonwealth of Kentucky, is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States and one of the states of the Upper South. It borders Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio to the north; West Virginia and Vir ...
. The Kentucky Court of Appeals is now Kentucky's intermediate appellate court. Criminal appeals involving a sentence of
death Death is the irreversible cessation of all biological functions that sustain an organism. For organisms with a brain, death can also be defined as the irreversible cessation of functioning of the whole brain, including brainstem, and brain ...
, life imprisonment, or imprisonment of twenty years or more are heard directly by the Kentucky Supreme Court, bypassing the Kentucky Court of Appeals. All other cases 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 The governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky is the head of government of Kentucky. Sixty-two men and one woman have served as governor of Kentucky. The governor's term is four years in length; since 1992, incumbents have been able to seek re-el ...
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 The Kentucky General Assembly, also called the Kentucky Legislature, is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Kentucky. It comprises the Kentucky Senate and the Kentucky House of Representatives. The General Assembly meets annually in t ...

Notable cases

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 The Supreme Court of California is the highest and final court of appeals in the courts of the U.S. state of California. It is headquartered in San Francisco at the Earl Warren Building, but it regularly holds sessions in Los Angeles and Sacr ...
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.Jake Dear and Edward W. Jessen, ''" Followed Rates" and Leading State Cases, 1940-2005'', 41 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 683, 694
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 a state equal protection violation. This Kentucky decision, based on the
Kentucky Constitution The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky is the document that governs the Commonwealth of Kentucky. It was first adopted in 1792 and has since been rewritten three times and amended many more. The later versions were adopted in 1799, 1850, a ...
, 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.

Current justices

Justices are elected in nonpartisan elections to eight-year terms. In case of a vacancy the governor makes an appointment from a list of three names provided by the Kentucky Judicial Nominating Commission.

See also

* Courts of Kentucky


External links

Website of the Kentucky Supreme CourtDatabase of Kentucky Supreme Court Opinions
{{authority control Kentucky law Kentucky state courts State supreme courts of the United States 1976 establishments in Kentucky Courts and tribunals established in 1976