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Justice Mary Noble Makes History

Deputy Chief Justice Mary Noble -- photo by Jennifer Collins, Administrative Office of the Courts

By Tony McVeigh, Kentucky Public Radio


FRANKFORT, Ky. – Deputy Chief Justice Mary Noble of Lexington has become the first woman to preside over oral arguments in the Kentucky Supreme Court.

The issue before the Supreme Court was ineffective assistance of counsel in a criminal case. It's a fairly routine issue of appeal, but the proceedings were unique because, for the first time, a woman was sitting in the chief justice's chair.

Deputy Chief Justice Mary Noble was presiding because Chief Justice John Minton had recused himself. Noble says it's another step forward for women.

"Most women today probably have more freedom to choose than they've ever had. But we still have very limited opportunity in leadership positions in the government and in business. So, when something like this happens, it's a milestone."

Noble and Justice Lisabeth Hughes Abramson are the only women on the seven-member Supreme Court.

The first female to ever sit on the high court was Sarah Combs, in 1993.