Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Bill Cunningham left office on January 31, 2019.
Governor Matt Bevin will now have the opportunity to make his first appointment to the court once he is given a list of three names by the Kentucky Judicial Nominating Commission.
The newly-appointed justice will serve until a special election in November 2019. The winner of that election will serve the remainder of Cunningham’s term, which will expire in January 2023. The filing deadline for this election is June 4, 2019.
The selection commission is made up of seven members: Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John Minton, two attorneys, and four citizens. The attorneys are elected to the commission by the Kentucky Bar Association, and there are no restrictions on their partisan affiliations. The four citizens are appointed by the governor, and state law requires that they are split evenly between Democrats and Republicans.
There are currently six justices on the court. Three were selected in nonpartisan elections. Two were appointed by Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R) and one was appointed by Gov. Steve Beshear (D).
To serve on the court, a candidate must be a citizen of Kentucky for at least two years and be licensed to practice law in Kentucky for at least eight years.