Former Ky Chief Justice Palmore Dies at 99, Praised by Current Head of State's High Court

Jul 6, 2017


In addition to the annual celebrations of Independence Day, July 4th, 2017 will be remembered for the passing of a highly-recognized Former Kentucky Chief Justice.

Justice John Palmore died Tuesday, about a month shy of his 100thbirthday.

Current Chief Justice, John Minton Junior says no individual in the modern era had a greater influence on operation of the state’s judicial system than John Palmore. 

Minton says Palmore headed Kentucky’s highest court at the time when voters approved a constitutional amendment to revamp the court system.  

“It was up to him to begin to put flesh on the bones that had been created by the new legislation, so it required a great deal of attention by him, administratively,” said Minton.

Chief Justice Minton says it went from a county-centric institution to a unified court system.  He and fellow justices have joked “Central Casting” would certainly have picked John Palmore for any chief justice role.

“He had the presence. He had the voice.  He had the hair.  He had the vocabulary, the delivery, the drama.  All the things it took to be the quintessential chief justice,” Minton noted.  “He just looks like he belonged in that black robe in the center chair.”

Justice Minton says Palmore insisted that judges presiding in the then-new court system wear robes. 

In addition, Palmore’s advice on instructing juries still stands.

“(It) really became the standard for judges and law practitioners to use all across the state and even to this day is cited as authority for proper instruction for juries for trials,” explained Minton.

The current State Supreme Court chief justice credits Palmore for helping shape Kentucky's court system as we know it today.