In a history-making appointment, Governor Steve Beshear today named Court of Appeals Judge Michelle M. Keller of Fort Mitchell to the Supreme Court of Kentucky. With the appointment, the seven-member court -- the state's highest -- now has three female justices for the first time ever.
The appointment, which is effective today, replaces Justice Wil Schroder, who retired Jan. 17. A statement at the time said Schroder had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and wanted to focus on his health and spend time with his family. Schroder was elected to the 6th Supreme Court District seat in November 2006.
"Judge Keller brings a wealth of varied experience to the position of Supreme Court justice and has excellent qualifications," Gov. Beshear said. "I thank Justice Schroder for his long career of judicial service. Our prayers and thoughts continue to be with him and his family."
"I have the deepest respect and fondness for Justice Wil Schroder. Therefore, this is a bittersweet moment for me," said Judge Keller. "I am very grateful to Gov. Beshear and I am humbled by his confidence, as well as the confidence and support of so many people in my district and beyond. I will work hard to provide justice to my fellow Kentuckians and continue the fine legacy of Justice Schroder."
Keller was elected to the Court of Appeals from the 6th Appellate District in November 2006. Prior to her election she practiced law for 17 years, as both an assistant county prosecutor and criminal defense attorney. She also has administrative law experience and previously served as chairwoman of the Kentucky Personnel Board.
The new justice is a graduate of Northern Kentucky University's Salmon P. Chase College of Law. She worked as a nurse while attending law school, and has served her community through various volunteer and board positions.
Keller's appointment will create a vacancy on the Kentucky Court of Appeals. A judicial nominating commission will meet and submit three names to Gov. Beshear, who will make the appointment.
The counties in the 6th Supreme Court District are Bath, Boone, Bracken, Campbell, Carroll, Fleming, Gallatin, Grant, Harrison, Henry, Kenton, Lewis, Mason, Nicholas, Oldham, Owen, Pendleton, Robertson, Shelby, Spencer and Trimble.