Ky. Supreme Court Chief Justice won’t seek re-election next year

Published 3:30 pm Tuesday, September 12, 2023

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Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice Laurance B. VanMeter officially announced on Tuesday he will not seek re-election to the high court bench when his current eight-year term expires at the end of 2024.

In making known his decision, VanMeter said, “The greatest privileges of my professional life have been to serve the people of Central Kentucky as their Justice on the Court for the past seven years, and to have been elected by my colleagues as Chief Justice. However, the time is right for me to begin a new chapter and turn the reins over to someone else.

“I am announcing my decision now so that any qualified judges and lawyers can make the decision as to whether this office and consequent election campaign are appropriate for them. I am grateful and humbled by the trust of voters, my colleagues, and for the support of my family. I will honor the trust reposed on me by finishing this term dedicated fully to the judicial process for the people of Kentucky.”

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VanMeter’s career on the bench spans nearly 30 years, during which he has served at all four levels of Kentucky’s judiciary: as a Fayette District Judge, Fayette Circuit Judge, Court of Appeals Judge and Supreme Court Justice.

Upon his 2016 election to the Supreme Court, he became just the third individual to have held office at all four levels and is the only one of those to have served as Chief Justice.

VanMeter was born in 1958 in Lexington and was raised in Winchester.  He received his undergraduate degree with a major in history in 1980 from Vanderbilt University, and his J.D. in 1983 from the University of Kentucky College of Law, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif and the Kentucky Law Journal.  More recently, he earned an LL.M. degree (Master of Laws) in May 2020, from Duke University School of Law and, in July 2020, was elected to The American Law Institute.

He serves as the Justice representing the 5th Appellate Court District, comprised of Bourbon, Clark, Fayette, Franklin, Jessamine, Madison, Scott and Woodford counties of central Kentucky.