Kentucky Court of Appeals Judge Pamela Goodwine, of Lexington, announced Friday she will run for the seat on the Kentucky Supreme Court that will be vacated by Chief Justice Laurance VanMeter.
VanMeter announced earlier this week that he does not plan to seek re-election when his term on the court expires next year.
Goodwine said she’s filed a letter of intent to run for election in the 5th District, which includes Bourbon, Clark, Fayette, Franklin, Jessamine, Madison, Scott and Woodford counties.
She currently represents those same counties on the Court of Appeals, having been first elected to the post in November 2018. Her current term on the Court of Appeals expires in 2030.
Prior to serving on the appeals court, Goodwine spent 15 years as a Fayette Circuit Court judge and four years as a Fayette District Court judge. She was the first African-American woman to serve on the bench in Fayette County.
She began her career as an attorney at Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs in 1994.
“I think it’s vitally important for a justice to have that kind of depth and breadth of experience,” Goodwine said in an interview Friday. “I think I’ve tried every type of case that a judge can try.”
She said she’s always “wanted to make sure that everyone who came into my courtroom was heard.”
“I’m committed to the judiciary. I’m committed to this race. I’m committed to ensuring that justice for all is certainly executed at the Supreme Court level,” she said.
If elected to the Supreme Court, Goodwine would be the fourth person to have served as a judge at all four levels of the Kentucky judicial system. VanMeter was the third justice to have that distinction.
VanMeter was elected to the Kentucky Supreme Court in 2016 and has served as chief justice since January, when he replaced retiring Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr.
Kentucky Supreme Court judges and Court of Appeals judges are elected to eight-year terms.