Kentucky Chief Justice John Minton, Jr. Announces Retirement

Oct 13, 2021

Credit David Brinkley

The Chief Justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court has announced plans to retire after serving 30 years on bench. 

In an interview on Wednesday with WKU Public Radio, John Minton, Jr. of Bowling Green announced he will not seek re-election next year. 

Minton says although his term doesn’t expire until January 1, 2023, he wanted to announce his intentions early.

“One of the rules of traditional politics would be that an elected official, such as the chief justice, would never confirm that he wasn’t seeking re-election because the concern is that you become immediately irrelevant," commented Minton. "Well, I don’t intend to become irrelevant. I’ve got more than a year left to serve.”

Minton says he wants to give those considering running for the high court plenty of time to make their decision. Kentucky Court of Appeals Judge Kelly Thompson of Bowling Green filed his intent to run for the seat last week.

Minton represents 14 counties in Kentucky’s 2nd Supreme Court District.  Voters will choose his successor in a non-partisan election next November. The seven justices will then choose who they want to become chief justice. 

Minton has spent a combined 30 years on the bench, first as a circuit court and appeals court judge. He was elected to the state Supreme Court in 2006 and became chief justice in 2008.

The past year-and-a-half have been the most challenging of his tenure.  He says the COVID-19 pandemic proved the importance of electronic filing and remote technology as courts were forced to pivot to phone and video proceedings. 

Minton says he hopes part of his legacy will be modernizing Kentucky’s judicial system. The General Assembly this year approved $14.7 million in technology upgrades for the judicial branch. Most of that, about $10.6 million, is being spent on video conferencing equipment. 

Efforts are underway to place self-serve kiosks in courthouses and commercial locations where people can access the courts outside of courthouse hours. The judicial branch is also working toward making all court records in Kentucky fully electronic.