John D. Minton Jr. of Bowling Green was elected to the Supreme Court of Kentucky in 2006 and re-elected to another eight-year term in 2014. His fellow justices elected him for a four-year term as chief justice in 2008, 2012 and 2016.
In July 2016, Chief Justice Minton was elected by his fellow chief justices to serve a one-year term as president of the Conference of Chief Justices and chair of the National Center for State Courts Board of Directors. Chief Justice Minton is the first chief justice from Kentucky to hold this post in nearly 25 years. In addition, the White House announced in July 2016 that President Barack Obama had nominated Chief Justice Minton to serve on the board of directors of the State Justice Institute, a federal nonprofit corporation that awards grants to improve the quality of justice in state courts. Chief Justice Minton must next be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
Under his administration, the Supreme Court adopted the state’s first uniform family law rules and formed the Kentucky Access to Justice Commission to improve access to civil legal aid for the poor. As a member of the Task Force on the Penal Code and Controlled Substances Act, Chief Justice Minton joined forces with the Executive and Legislative branches to curb prison costs and improve public safety. He supports transparent government and in 2009 led the Judicial Branch in posting its financial information on a public website shared with the Executive Branch.
Chief Justice Minton is steering the Judicial Branch through Kentucky’s worst economic downturn in decades by creating efficiencies at all four levels of the court system. Under his leadership, the Administrative Office of the Courts commissioned the National Center for State Courts to audit the AOC in an effort to achieve a leaner, more efficient organizational structure.
As head of the Judicial Branch, he is committed to investing in the people who operate the court system and in the technology that can help Kentucky courts reduce costs and deliver better service. He formed the Technology Governance Committee to create a strategic technology plan for the courts and guide efforts to replace the outdated case management system with one that will allow eFiling and innovative electronic services. He also created a Compensation Commission to determine how to make the Judicial Branch’s salary structure more fair and competitive with the other branches of state government.
Chief Justice Minton was in private practice for 15 years before serving as a circuit judge from 1992 to 2003 and a Kentucky Court of Appeals judge from 2003 to 2006. He holds degrees from Western Kentucky University and the University of Kentucky College of Law.
He is currently president-elect and a member of the board of directors for the Conference of Chief Justices. He is also a member of the board of directors for the National Center for State Courts. He previously served on the board of Council of State Governments and is a 2010 alumnus of the prestigious Toll Fellowship Program, one of the nation’s top leadership development programs for state government officials.
In 2003, the Kentucky Bar Association honored him with its Outstanding Judge Award. He was named Distinguished Jurist in 2012 by the University of Kentucky College of Law Alumni Association. He was inducted into the Western Kentucky University Hall of Distinguished Alumni in 2013.
Chief Justice Minton is the son of the late Dr. John D. Minton and Betty Redick Minton of Bowling Green. Dr. Minton retired from Western Kentucky University after serving WKU for many years as a history professor, administrator and its fifth president. Mrs. Minton continues to live in Bowling Green.
At a young age, Chief Justice Minton moved with his parents from Cadiz, Ky., to Bowling Green, where he grew up and currently resides. He is married to Susan Page Minton, a Bowling Green native, and they have two children.