Chief Justice Minton inducted into UK Rosenberg College of Law Hall of Fame


FRANKFORT, Ky., Oct. 14, 2021 –The University of Kentucky Rosenberg College of Law Alumni Association bestowed its highest honor on Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. Oct. 8 in recognition of his body of work as well as exceptional guidance of state courts during the pandemic and past economic downturns. The event took place in Lexington.

“Chief Justice Minton is very deserving of induction into the Rosenberg Law Alumni Association Hall of Fame,” Dean Mary J. Davis said. “He is a deeply thoughtful jurist, a leader in the legal profession, and dedicated to serving students of the law. His leadership of the courts during the pandemic is just one example of the impact of his service to the legal profession. We are so pleased for his induction into the Hall of Fame.”

The UK Law Alumni Association Hall of Fame was established to acknowledge graduates and former faculty of the College whose extraordinary professional success and contributions, profound positive influence on the College of Law, and high degree of character and integrity are recognized by their peers.

“It is an honor to have my name called this evening and my picture hung here among those of the many law alumni whose lifetime of accomplishments have brought credit not only to themselves but to our profession and the law school that prepared us,” Chief Justice Minton said.

Shaye P. Johnson, chair of the Law Alumni Association, presented the following tribute to Chief Justice Minton:

“He is Bowling Green’s native son, who learned to love history from his father, a history professor, administrator and president of Western Kentucky University. Although he spent his childhood with a university campus as his backyard, a career in academia was not to be. After earning a bachelor’s degree in history and English from Western, his interest in the law took him to the University of Kentucky Rosenberg College of Law, where he graduated in 1977.

“He spent 15 years in private practice and 14 years as a judge for the Circuit Court and Court of Appeals before being elected to the Supreme Court in 2006 and becoming chief justice in 2008. 2008 was the beginning of the Great Recession, a trial by fire for a new chief justice who was barely sworn in before having to make decisions about deep budget cuts, massive layoffs and the court system’s first closures by furlough.

“Those early days prepared him for the many challenges to come and his tenure as head of the Judicial Branch has been marked by integrity, a steady hand, legal acumen and a vision for the future of the courts.

“The ambitious KYeCourts initiative is transforming how the courts do business by moving from paper to an electronic record. This years-long effort has produced eFiling in every county, new trial and appellate case management systems, eWarrants, eEPOs and more – all in an effort to improve access to justice by leveraging technology. And the recent infusion of federal rescue funds is fueling work on video arraignment/conferencing, redaction, a self-represented litigant portal and payment kiosks.

“He has also invested in the Judicial Branch’s dedicated personnel through improved compensation for court employees, judges and circuit court clerks.

“He braved the third rail of state politics by leading efforts to draft Kentucky’s first Judicial Redistricting Plan in decades. And his quick response in the early days of COVID-19 ensured the courts could stay open for business through mostly virtual operations.

“He has also worked for penal code, juvenile justice and bail reform; formed a commission to improve civil legal aid for the poor; embraced efforts to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in the courts; and addressed the drug epidemic by moving substance use disorder cases toward a recovery-oriented system of care. His commitment to transparency led to the Supreme Court adopting the first open records policy for the administrative records of the court. He has also created an Audit Oversight Committee and an internal audit department at the Administrative Office of the Courts, and required biennial audits of the court system’s financial records.

“In addition to his many accomplishments across the commonwealth, Chief Justice Minton’s influence has been felt nationally through his service as president of the Conference of Chief Justices and chair of the State Justice Institute Board of Directors.”