John D. Minton Jr. of Bowling Green was elected to the Supreme Court of Kentucky in 2006 and reelected to another eight-year term in 2014. His fellow justices elected him for a four-year term as chief justice in 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2020. He is only the second chief justice in Kentucky to be chosen to serve four terms.
The Judicial Branch has made great progress in many areas during his administration. Under Chief Justice Minton's leadership, 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 led efforts to draft Kentucky’s first Judicial Redistricting Plan in decades. 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.
And his quick response in the early days of COVID-19 ensured the courts could stay open for business through mostly virtual operations.
Chief Justice Minton was in private practice for 15 years before serving as a circuit judge from 1992 to 2003 and a Court of Appeals judge from 2003 to 2006.
He completed a one-year term as president of the Conference of Chief Justices and chair of the National Center for State Courts Board of Directors in 2017. He was the first chief justice from Kentucky to hold this post in nearly 25 years. He was appointed to the State Justice Institute Board of Directors in 2016 and currently serves as board chair. SJI is a federal nonprofit corporation that awards grants to improve the quality of justice in state courts.
He previously served on the board of the 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.
He holds degrees from Western Kentucky University and the University of Kentucky College of Law.
He was inducted into the University of Kentucky Rosenberg Law Alumni Association Hall of Fame in 2021 and the Western Kentucky University Hall of Distinguished Alumni in 2013. He was named Distinguished Jurist in 2012 by the University of Kentucky College of Law Alumni Association and the Kentucky Bar Association honored him in 2003 with its Outstanding Judge Award.
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.