Lisabeth Hughes Abramson

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Lisabeth Hughes Abramson
Court Information:
Kentucky Supreme Court
Title:   Associate justice
Position:   4th District seat
Salary:  $136,000
Appointed by:   Gov. Ernie Fletcher
Active:   2007-2023
Preceded by:   William McAnulty
Past post:   Judge, Kentucky Court of Appeals
Past term:   2006-2007
Past post 2:   Judge, 30th Judicial Circuit
Past term 2:   1999-2006
Personal History
Undergraduate:   University of Louisville, 1977
Law School:   University of Louisville School of Law, 1980
Candidate 2014:
Candidate for:  Kentucky Supreme Court
Position:  4th District
State:  Kentucky
Election information 2014:
Incumbent:  Yes
Primary date:  5/20/2014
Election date:  11/4/2014
Election vote:  ApprovedA

Lisabeth Hughes Abramson is an associate justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court. She was sworn in on September 10, 2007, after being appointed by Governor Ernie Fletcher to the 4th Supreme Court District seat.[1]

Abramson was re-elected without opposition in 2014, winning an eight-year term that expires on January 1, 2023.[2][3]



For in-depth coverage of the state's high court races, see: Kentucky Supreme Court elections, 2014
See also: Kentucky judicial elections, 2014
Abramson ran for re-election to the Kentucky Supreme Court.
General: She was unopposed in the general election on November 4, 2014.[2]


Justice Abramson successfully ran for re-election on November 4, 2008 against challenger Jim Shake. She won 55% of the vote to retain her seat.

Candidate IncumbentSeatElection %
Lisabeth Hughes Abramson ApprovedA 4th District55.2%
Jim Shake 4th District44.8%


Louisville Bar Association ratings

744 members of the Louisville Bar Association rated the two candidates.[5]

Candidate Highly qualified Qualified Not qualified Do not know Not rated
Lisabeth Hughes Abramson 65.7% 18.3% 2.2% 8.6% 5.2%
Jim Shake 58.7% 28.6% 2.6% 5.5% 4.6%

Federal judicial nomination

In March 2014, it was rumored the FBI was vetting Abramson for a federal seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Though neither Abramson, nor chief justice Minton, commented on rumor, Abramson could have succeeded retired judge Boyce Martin if ultimately nominated by President Barack Obama.[6]


Abramson received her undergraduate degree in English from the University of Louisville in 1977 and her J.D. from the University of Louisville School of Law in 1980.[7]


Prior to serving as a judge, Abramson practiced law for fifteen years.[6]

Awards and associations

  • Past president, University of Louisville School of Law Alumni Council
  • Master, Louis D. Brandeis Inn of Court
  • Trustee, Kentucky Judicial Form Retirement System Board[1]

Notable cases

Dad's paternity dissent

Justice Abramson was one of three justices voting against the majority on the court, in a 4-3 decision, to deny a biological father access to his son. Justice Abramson disagreed with the assertion of the justices in the majority, that the boy in question was better off not knowing who is father was, until a time appointed by his mother and her husband. "Our world is full of inconvenient truths. We accomplish nothing for families, the broader community and our justice system when we deny those truths," she wrote.[8]

Political outlook

See also: Political outlook of State Supreme Court Justices

In October 2012, political science professors Adam Bonica and Michael Woodruff of Stanford University attempted to determine the partisan ideology of state supreme court justices in their paper, State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns. A score above 0 indicated a more conservative leaning ideology while scores below 0 are more liberal. Abramson received a Campaign finance score (CFscore) of -0.12, indicating a liberal ideological leaning. This is more liberal than the average CF score of 0.17 that justices received in Kentucky. The study is based on data from campaign contributions by judges themselves, the partisan leaning of contributors to the judges or, in the absence of elections, the ideology of the appointing body (governor or legislature). This study is not a definitive label of a justice, but an academic gauge of various factors.[9]

See also

External links


KentuckyKentucky Supreme CourtKentucky Court of AppealsKentucky Circuit CourtsKentucky District CourtsKentucky Family CourtUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of KentuckyUnited States District Court for the Western District of KentuckyUnited States bankruptcy court, Eastern District of KentuckyUnited States bankruptcy court, Western District of KentuckyUnited States Court of Appeals for the Sixth CircuitKentucky countiesKentucky judicial newsKentucky judicial electionsJudicial selection in KentuckyKentuckyTemplate.jpg