Beshear to appoint Williams to bench, official announcement may come soon


by Joe Arnold

Posted on October 25, 2012 at 11:15 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 26 at 11:26 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky (WHAS11) -- WHAS11 News has learned that Kentucky Senate President David williams will resign from the senate to accept a judicial appointment.

Governor Steve Beshear's decision may be announced as early as Friday that he has selected Williams from three nominees to fill the unexpired term of Circuit Judge Eddie Lovelace, who died in September.  A judicial nominating commission forwarded three nominations to Beshear on Thursday: Williams, Clinton County public defender Angela M. Capps and senior judge Stephen Douglas Hurt.  All are from Burkesville.

The governor has 60 days to act upon a judicial commission's nominations.

"We have received the nominations for the circuit judge position from the nominating commission," said Beshear spokeswoman Kerri Richardson, "but there will be no announcement (Thursday)."  After WHAS11's report of Williams' selection late Thursday afternoon, Richardson reiterated that Beshear had not appointed anyone to the post.

The appointment is not official until released by the governor's office, but sources tell WHAS11 News that Beshear has already chosen Williams, who has led the opposition to Beshear's agenda, most notably to the legalization of casino gambling.

When the appointment becomes official, it will mark the end of an era at the statehouse.
For 12 years, Williams has led the senate with legal finesse and a sharp tongue, galvanizing Republicans and more recently frustrating Beshear's agenda.

Now, Beshear and Williams have found a mutually beneficial end to their rivalry.

Williams has been critical of Beshear's use of appointment powers in the past, after the governor appointed Sen. Charlie Borders to the Public Service Commission and Sen. Dan Kelly to a judgeship.

"To offer positions to Republicans to get them to resign is too much," Williams said in December, 2010.  "He's gone too far."

Yet, Williams welcomed this appointment.

"I am appreciative of the nomination and if the Governor appoints me, I will accept the position," Williams said in a statement on Thursday.

Asked earlier this month if Williams was qualified for the bench, Beshear said "Certainly I think he's qualified, and I'll consider every name that the nominating commission puts forward, too."