New state Supreme Court justice to be sworn in Friday

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Justice-elect Robert Conley

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Justice-Elect Robert B. Conley will become the newest member of the Supreme Court of Kentucky when he is sworn into office Friday, Jan. 1, at 1 p.m. ET.

Due to COVID-19 precautions, the ceremony will take place on Zoom with Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr. administering the oath of office. 

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The public are invited to watch the investiture on the Kentucky Court of Justice YouTube channel.

Justice-Elect Conley was elected in the November general election to serve the 7th Supreme Court District, which comprises 22 Eastern Kentucky counties. He succeeds Supreme Court Justice Samuel T. Wright III.

Justice-Elect Conley comes to the state’s highest court after 26 years as a trial court judge for Greenup and Lewis counties. He was appointed to fill a vacancy in the 20th Judicial District in 1994 and then elected to that seat for three successive terms.

In 2006, he was elected to the 20th Judicial Circuit where he currently serves. While a circuit judge, he presided over the Greenup/Lewis Drug Court, which was recognized by the National Drug Court Institute in 2010 as a mentor court to help train Drug Court personnel from the Eastern United States.

Prior to taking the bench, Justice-Elect Conley worked in Ashland as an associate in the law firm of McKenzie, Woolery & Eurick PSC and then as a corporate attorney with Addington Mining/Addington Environmental Inc.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and business from the University of Kentucky in 1981 and a juris doctor from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University in 1984. He worked his way through UK and his first year of law school as a steelworker for ARMCO Steel Inc.

Justice-Elect Conley was married to the late Melanie Stephens Conley for 28 years and they had two children, Katlyn Ann Conley and Robert B. Conley II. He has been active in his community as a coach for youth baseball, football, softball and soccer teams. He has also been involved in Bridges Christian Church in Russell as a Sunday school teacher, adult Bible study leader, deacon and elder.

He is engaged to Melanie Simpson of Lexington.

Seven justices sit on the Supreme Court and all seven justices rule on appeals that come before the court. The justices are elected from seven appellate districts and serve eight-year terms. A chief justice, chosen for a four-year term by fellow justices, is the administrative head of the state’s court system and is responsible for its operation.