Logan Circuit Judge Tyler Gill is one of three individuals who have been nominated to fill the empty spot on the Kentucky Supreme Court.

On Tuesday, the Judicial Nominating Commission, led by Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr., announced nominees to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat in the Firtst Supreme Court District. The district is composed of 24 western Kentucky counties. The vacancy was created when Justice Bill Cunningham retired Feb. 1.

The three attorneys named as nominees to fill the vacancy are David Cowan Buckingham of Murray, Carla Rene' Williams of Dixon and Gill of Allensville.

Gill has served as a Circuit Court judge for the 7th Judicial Circuit (Logan and Todd counties) since 1995. He was a district judge for those counties from 1993-1995. He received his juris doctor from the University of Kentucky College of Law.

Buckingham has served has of counsel for Adams Law Firm in Murray since 2011. He served as a Kentucky Court of Appeals judge from 1997-2005, a circuit judge for the 42nd Judicial Circuit from 1987-1996 and a district judge for the 42nd Judicial District from 1982-1986. The 42nd Circuit and District are made up of Calloway and Marshall counties. He earned his juris doctor from the University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law.

Williams has served as a Circuit Court judge for the 5th Judicial Circuit (Crittenden, Union and Webster counties) since November 2004. She has been the chief regional circuit judge for the Purchase Region since Chief Justice Minton appointed her in 2007. She was a district judge for the three counties from January 1990-November 2004.

The Supreme Court is the state court of last resort and the final interpreter of Kentucky law. 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. The Supreme Court may order a ruling or opinion to be published, which means that the ruling becomes the case law governing all similar cases in the future in Kentucky.

The Judicial Nominating Commission helps fill judicial vacancies by appointment when a vacancy occurs outside of the election cycle. The Kentucky Constitution established the JNC. Ky. Const. § 118; SCR 6.000, et seq.

When a judicial vacancy occurs, the executive secretary of the JNC publishes a notice of vacancy in the judicial circuit or the judicial district affected. Attorneys may recommend someone or nominate themselves. The names of the applicants are not released. Once nominations occur, the individuals interested in the position return a questionnaire to the Office of the Chief Justice. Chief Justice Minton then meets with the Judicial Nominating Commission to choose three nominees. Because the Kentucky Constitution requires that three names be submitted to the governor, in some cases the commission submits an attorney's name even though the attorney did not apply. A letter naming the three nominees is sent to the governor for review. The governor has 60 days to appoint a replacement and his office makes the announcement.