Deputy Chief Justice Lisabeth T. Hughes serves Jefferson County, which is the 4th Supreme Court District. In February 2017, Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr. named her deputy chief justice of the Supreme Court. The deputy chief justice fills in when the chief justice recuses in a case or an administrative matter.
Justice Hughes has served on the Supreme Court for over 11 years and has been a judge for 22 years. She was appointed as a justice in 2007 to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of the late Justice William E. McAnulty Jr. In November 2008, the voters of Jefferson County elected her to serve as the justice from their district. She was re-elected in November 2014.
Prior to taking the Supreme Court bench, Justice Hughes served as a Kentucky Court of Appeals judge from 1997-1998 and a Circuit Court judge in Division 3 of Jefferson Circuit Court from 1999-2006. She was reappointed to the Court of Appeals in 2006 and later elected to that court, where she was serving when she was nominated by the Judicial Conduct Commission and appointed by the governor to the Supreme Court. Justice Hughes is the only woman who has served on Kentucky's three highest courts.
After earning her bachelor’s degree with highest honors from the University of Louisville, Justice Hughes graduated magna cum laude from the University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, where she was named Outstanding Graduate of her law school class and served as executive editor of the law review. Before serving as a judge, she practiced law in Louisville for 15 years, concentrating on business and commercial litigation.
Justice Hughes is chairwoman of the Civil Justice Reform Commission and in that role is spearheading the implementation of Business Court in Kentucky. She also chairs the Supreme Court's Civil Rules Committee and has been the Supreme Court representative on the Board of Trustees of the Kentucky IOLTA Fund since 2008. Justice Hughes is past president of the Louis D. Brandeis Inn of Court and continues to serve as a Master of the Inn. She is former chairperson of the alumni council for the University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law and served as a trustee for the Kentucky Judicial Form Retirement System Board from 2000-2012. She is a past Louisville Bar Association Judge of the Year and was recognized as the U of L Law Alumni Fellow in 2009. In 2018, Justice Hughes received the Judge Benjamin Shobe Civility and Professionalism Award from the Louisville Bar Association. She is also a 2007 graduate of Leadership Louisville.
A native of Princeton, Ky., Justice Hughes has been a proud Louisvillian for over 40 years and has three adult sons.