A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Statewide primary vote winners: Trump, Biden; McConnell, McGrath; Barr, Hicks — and more

Staff report With almost all precincts reporting statewide, Donald J. Trump has won Kentucky Republican primary for president and Joseph Biden has won the Democratic primary. Trump took 87% of the Republican vote and Biden took 70% of the Democratic vote in a field of ten candidates. In the U.S. Senate race, incumbent Mitch McConnell took 83% of the vote in a seven-candidate Republican field and Amy...

Beshear reports 205 new COVID-19 cases, 6 deaths; urges wearing masks for best protection

As of Monday afternoon, Gov. Andy Beshear said there were at least 12,647 COVID-19 cases in Kentucky. The Governor provided updated information about coronavirus cases newly confirmed Sunday and Monday in Kentucky. On Sunday, 85 new cases of coronavirus were reported. On Monday, 120 new cases were reported. Beshear also announced one new death Sunday and five new deaths Monday. The total number of...

Supreme Court provides updates on how courts will expand services starting June 1

On May 15, the Supreme Court announced the court system’s reopening plan, which provides guidance on how the Judicial Branch will gradually expand court services starting June 1. As a follow-up to the initial order, the Supreme Court released six orders Friday that offer further direction to the courts and the public about court operations on June 1. “As the Judicial Branch carefully expands court...

Kentucky’s public defenders concerned about premature return to open court proceedings

As a precaution to protect participants from possible exposure and spread of COVID-19, most criminal court proceedings have been suspended since March, but that is about to change and public defender leaders are worried about what they may mean for the health of their attorneys and others in the system. On May 15, the Supreme Court of Kentucky issued an order that trial courts in June could “resume...

Kentucky Supreme Court extends suspension of in-person court services through May 31

With the COVID-19 state of emergency still in place in Kentucky and nationwide, the Supreme Court has extended the effective date of the order that governs court operations during the pandemic.  Administrative Order 2020-22, dated April 14, replaces in its entirety Administrative Order 2020-16, dated April 1. John D. Minton Jr. The effective date of the order has been extended from May 1 to May 31. The...

Amye Bensenhaver: KY Supreme Court strikes blow for open government; court is arbiter of access

In what may be the single most important victory for open government in recent memory, the Kentucky Supreme Court issued an opinion on September 26 in which it repudiated the Legislative Research Commission’s argument that it, and not the courts, are the final arbiter of access to records of the LRC and the legislature. The opinion in Becky Harilson, etc., et al. v. Hon. Phillip J. Shepherd, et...

Commentary: UK’s journey – like that of Lyman T. Johnson 70 years ago – is one of forward progress

By Eli Capilouto and Sonja Feist-Price Special to KyForward One man. One courageous step. Seventy years of a journey that is still unfolding and evolving. That is the story the University of Kentucky community is celebrating with particular reverence this month and throughout the next year. It is the story of an institution intentionally striving to be a community of belonging, even while acknowledging...

Court of Appeals Judge Nickell is first to file for Supreme Court seat vacated by Bill Cunningham

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A veteran Kentucky Court of Appeals judge is seeking the Supreme Court seat vacated by the retirement of Justice Bill Cunningham this month. Judge Christopher Shea Nickell filed his papers for the high court’s 1st District, which includes most of western Kentucky, on Monday at the Secretary of State’s office. Nickell files to fill Bill Cunningham’s seat on Supreme...

Debra Hembree Lambert sworn in as 3rd Supreme Court District justice, replaces Daniel Venters

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Kentucky’s newest Supreme Court Justice took her seat on the bench for the first time on Monday following her formal investiture ceremony. 
Debra Hembree Lambert was elected last November to represent the 3rd Supreme Court District, consisting of 27 counties in southern and southeast Kentucky, succeeding Justice Daniel Venters who retired after 35 years in the judiciary,...

Commentary: Advocates cite ‘milestone year’ for Marsy’s Law, hoping Supreme Court upholds voters

2018 was a milestone year for crime victims’ rights in Kentucky thanks to courageous legislators, determined advocates and hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians. Marsy’s Law was the first bill to pass in the General Assembly and then went to the ballot winning support from 63% of Kentucky voters.   These were the fruits of a three-year campaign to educate Kentuckians about Marsy’s Law and why...

Retired Justice Daniel Venters: The Governor’s verbal attacks on the courts are wrong — and ‘fake news’

Governor Bevin responded to the Kentucky Supreme Court’s recent unanimous opinion on the 2018 pension reform bill by accusing all seven Justices of being politically-motivated “activist judges” who defied the Rule of Law in an “unprecedented power grab.” He said the Court’s opinion was “screwing Kentucky.” As the Supreme Court Justice who wrote that opinion, and as a Republican who...

Supreme Court highlights need for attorney volunteers, declares Oct. 21-27 Ky. Pro Bono Week

The Supreme Court wants to thank Kentucky attorneys who donate their time and expertise by proclaiming Oct. 21-27 as Kentucky Pro Bono Week. “One of the hallmarks of legal professionalism is a commitment to public service,” said Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr. “Although Kentucky doesn’t have a pro bono requirement, Rule 6.1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct encourages all lawyers...

Jeff Hoover: Mitch McConnell cements legacy with Supreme Court confirmations; bold action prevailed

It wasn’t long ago in our nation that boxing was one of the preeminent sports. Like almost everyone near my age, I grew up watching some of the greats like George Foreman, Joe Frazier and Larry Holmes. Of course, none was greater than Kentucky’s own Muhammad Ali.   For nearly 20 years, Ali was the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. He took on fighters younger and older than him, bigger...

Bill Straub: Taking bets on McConnell’s choice of doing what’s best for (1) the nation or (2) his party?

WASHINGTON – Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell is facing a dilemma. McConnell, of Louisville, has, on numerous occasions, been justifiably criticized for placing the priorities of his Republican Party ahead of the nation’s welfare. It was, after all, ol’ Root-‘n-Branch who vowed rigid non-cooperation with anything President Barack Obama, a Democrat and the...

Supreme Court to hear oral arguments in employee pension case at 10 a.m. Thurs.; here’s how to watch

There will be several ways for the public to view oral arguments when the Supreme Court of Kentucky hears the state employee pension case at 10 a.m. ET Thursday, Sept. 20. The case is Matthew G. Bevin, In His Official Capacity As Governor Of The Commonwealth Of Kentucky, Et Al. V. Commonwealth of Kentucky Ex Rel. Andy Beshear, Attorney General, Et Al.

 Supreme Court Justices Due to interest in...

Bill Straub: It take a certain talent to spew gibberish on a consistent basis, and McConnell has talent

Looks can, indeed be deceiving. Take Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, for example. McConnell, of Louisville, comes across as your dull, standard issue white-man-in-a-suit with a droning voice who would turn the head of absolutely no one at the neighborhood Piggly-Wiggly. But the fact is ol’ Root-‘n-Branch is one of the most outrageous figures to hit the American scene since Huey Long,...

Retiring Court of Appeals judge Janet Stumbo honored by colleagues at retirement reception

Kentucky Court of Appeals Judge Janet L. Stumbo, who serves 22 counties in Eastern Kentucky, was honored by the chief justice, her fellow Court of Appeals judges, court system employees and others at a retirement reception Dec. 14 at the Court of Appeals building in Frankfort. “On behalf of the entire court system, what can I say except thank you for your years of service and the way you have cared...

Bill Straub: ‘Root and Branch’ McConnell manages to take both sides of an issue when it suits his purpose

WASHINGTON – Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root and Branch’’ McConnell is very much like one of those troubled volunteer fireman you hear about on occasion – the secret pyromaniac who sets the fires and then accepts the public plaudits for extinguishing them. The Louisville lawmaker’s talents are currently on full display during the debate over President Trump’s nomination of Judge...

Millersburg native to receive Henry Clay award from Kentucky Society of Washington

Staff report   The 2014 Henry Clay Distinguished Kentuckian award will be presented tonight in Washington, D.C., to William Kent Suter who grew up in Millersburg and served for 20 years as the 19th clerk of the U.S. Supreme Court.   William Kent Suter (Photo from Wikimedia Commons) The Biennial Henry Clay Dinner, at which the award will be presented, serves as a fundraiser for the Henry Clay...

Lewis Donohew: What makes the Supreme Court think we need more money in politics?

(Photo from Denver Library)   The new ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court allowing even more money to be injected into political races sets up a major test of massive paid-for persuasion versus rational discussion of issues.   In other words, will the pouring of huge amounts of cash into campaigns — even more than we’ve experienced already, if you can imagine that — permit such a bombardment...