Supreme Court of Kentucky
Chambers, State Capitol
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601
Contact: Jamie Neal, Public Information Specialist, Administrative Office of the Courts
502-573-2350 ext. 50033, email@example.com
For Immediate Release
Judicial Nominating Commission announces nominees for Jefferson Family Court judgeship
FRANKFORT, Ky., March 22, 2016 – The Judicial Nominating Commission, led by Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr., today announced nominees to fill a vacant Family Court judgeship in Jefferson County. Jefferson County is the 30th Judicial Circuit and the vacancy is in the circuit’s 9th division.
The three nominees for the judgeship are attorneys Judith K. Bartholomew, Gina Kay Calvert and Ellie Garcia Kerstetter, all of Louisville. Each of them received their juris doctors from the University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law.
Bartholomew served as a Jefferson District Court judge from 1999 to 2009 and then as a senior judge from 2009 to 2014. Calvert has served as a Jefferson District Court judge since January 2010. Kerstetter is a solo law practitioner.
The Family Court judicial seat became vacant when Judge Stephen M. George retired in December 2015.
Family Court is a division of Circuit Court. In counties that have a Family Court, the court has primary jurisdiction in cases involving family issues, including divorces, adoption, child support, domestic violence and juvenile status offenses.
Judicial Nominating Commission
The Judicial Nominating Commission helps fill judicial vacancies by appointment when a vacancy occurs outside of the election cycle. The Kentucky Constitution established the JNC. Ky. Const. § 118; SCR 6.000, et seq.
Judicial Nominating Process
When a judicial vacancy occurs, the executive secretary of the JNC publishes a notice of vacancy in the judicial circuit or the judicial district affected. Attorneys may recommend someone or nominate themselves. The names of the applicants are not released. Once nominations occur, the individuals interested in the position return a questionnaire to the Office of the Chief Justice. Chief Justice Minton then meets with the Judicial Nominating Commission to choose three nominees. Because the Kentucky Constitution requires that three names be submitted to the governor, in some cases the commission submits an attorney’s name even though the attorney did not apply. A letter naming the three nominees is sent to the governor for review. The governor has 60 days to appoint a replacement and his office makes the announcement.
Makeup of the Judicial Nominating Commission
The commission has seven members. The membership is comprised of the chief justice of Kentucky (who also serves as chair), two lawyers elected by all the lawyers in their circuit/district and four Kentucky citizens who are appointed by the governor. The four citizens appointed by the governor must equally represent the two major political parties, so two must be Democrats and two must be Republicans. It is the responsibility of the commission to submit a list of three names to the governor and the governor must appoint a judge from this list of three.
Administrative Office of the Courts
The Administrative Office of the Courts in Frankfort is the operations arm for the state court system. The AOC supports the activities of 3,300 court system employees and 403 elected justices, judges and circuit court clerks. As the fiscal agent for the state court system, the AOC executes the Judicial Branch budget.