A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Samuel T. Wright of Letcher County sworn in as a justice of the Supreme Court, takes 7th district seat

Justice Wright's wife, Jennifer, holds the Bible as he is sworn in by Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. (Photo provided)

Justice Samuel T. Wright III was formally sworn in as a justice of the Supreme Court of Kentucky today by Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr. Justice Wright was joined by his wife, children, and great nephews and nieces at the investiture service. The event took place in the Supreme Court Courtroom at the state Capitol in Frankfort.

Chief Justice Minton, other Supreme Court justices, former Justice Will T. Scott and Sen. Johnny Ray Turner, who represents four counties in Justice Wright’s district, were among those who provided remarks during the service. Justice Wright was elected in November 2015 to serve as the justice from the 7th Supreme Court District, which is comprised of 22 Eastern Kentucky counties. He is to fulfill the unexpired portion of Justice Scott’s term, which runs through 2020.

Justice Wright was first sworn in as a justice by Chief Justice Minton in his hometown of Letcher County in November.

“Your predecessor on this court, Justice Will T. Scott, commented at your swearing-in ceremony last month in Whitesburg that the people of the Eastern Kentucky mountains swelled with pride as you took the oath to become the next justice of the Supreme Court of Kentucky from the 7th Supreme Court District,” Chief Justice Minton said. “As Justice Scott said, they swelled with pride because they knew that they were sending one of their own to take the mountains with him to Frankfort. It must be gratifying that the people who know you best couldn’t be prouder of you or more supportive of you as you take your seat on this bench. The area’s affection for you was apparent as hundreds of residents from Letcher and surrounding counties gathered in front of the courthouse to be a part of your swearing-in ceremony.”

Justice Wright served as a Letcher County trial court judge for more than two decades before being elected to the Supreme Court.

“Today you leave the trial bench behind but you bring a deep well of experience with you,” Chief Justice Minton said. “That trial court experience has fitted you to be at once a significant contributing member of this court.”

Chief Justice Minton said that it was the Supreme Court’s duty to come together as a collegial court to get the law right for citizens.

“We welcome you as our colleague on this court and look forward to the months and years ahead in a collective endeavor to get the law right for the people of the commonwealth we all serve,” he said.

Justice Wright said, “It is an honor and a joy to work on important cases at the leading edge of the law. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to discuss the cases and hear the insights and thoughts of such an awesome assemblage of servants as the other justices.”

He spoke at the investiture about his experience campaigning throughout the 7th Supreme Court District and discussed the importance of talking with people in the district about their vision for Kentucky.

Justice Scott left the 7th Supreme Court District seat open when he resigned in January to run for governor. Justice David Allen Barber filled the vacancy from March until Justice Wright’s election in November.

The counties in the 7th Supreme Court District are Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Elliott, Floyd, Greenup, Harlan, Johnson, Knott, Lawrence, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Powell, Rowan and Wolfe.

From the Supreme Court of Kentucky

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