Three nominees were announced Friday to fill an open Fayette Circuit Court judgeship, including state Sen. Kathy Stein, D-Lexington, a prominent lawmaker who has expressed interest in the job.
Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear has 60 days to make his selection, but "usually he doesn't tarry too long on these," said spokeswoman Kerri Richardson.
The opening in the circuit's Family Court follows the Aug. 2 retirement of Judge Jo Ann Wise.
Three lawyers were chosen by the Judicial Nominating Commission, led by Kentucky Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. They are:
■ Carl David Devine, a University of Kentucky law school graduate who practices family law at the firm of Miller, Griffin and Marks.
■ Christian Renau Worth, also a UK law school graduate, who practices family, criminal, estate and probate law.
■ Stein, also a UK law school graduate, who practices family and criminal law.
Lexington voters elected Stein to the state Senate in 2009 after she had served in the state House since 1997, including a stint as House Judiciary Committee chairwoman. She represents the area around downtown Lexington and the UK campus and is one of the most outspoken liberal members of the General Assembly, sometimes clashing with Senate Republican leaders. But she enjoys a good relationship with the governor.
If Beshear appoints Stein, she would make $124,620 a year, more than double what most of the part-time legislators make. Because of a 2005 change in pension rules, part-time lawmakers who take jobs in the judicial branch or executive branches can count their new higher-paying, full-time state salaries when calculating their legislative pension benefits.
A family court judge hears cases relating to divorce, child custody, adoption, termination of parental rights, domestic violence, child abuse and neglect.