Enquirer endorses Moore, Keller for appeals court

The Cincinnati Enquirer, which services Northern Kentucky published the following editorial endorsing Joy Moore and Michelle Keller for Court of Appeals.

Northern Kentucky judicial candidates have been scrapping, at times in less than law-scholar fashion, for two seats on Kentucky’s Sixth District Court of Appeals. 

In the race between Joy Moore of Florence and Jim Kidney of Fort Thomas, litigator Kidney has been in non-stop attack mode. Both are Chase Law School graduates. Moore admits she has not tried cases on her own, but is much more experienced than Kidney in the inner workings of appeals courts after serving as staff attorney for distinguished appellate judges. She also out-rated Kidney by far in the Northern Kentucky Bar Association poll, and despite Kidney’s condescending insults, has maintained an even-handed, analytical temperament that is needed for this court. We endorse Joy Moore.



Moore clerked for federal Judge William O. Bertelsman, served as staff attorney for Kentucky Appeals Court Judges Dan Guidugli and Robert Dyche III, and is now a litigator in private practice. She says she has handled hundreds of cases for the judges she’s worked for, and takes offense at Kidney’s accusations that her marriage to Boone County Judge-executive Gary Moore is somehow responsible for her law career. She reminded Kidney she finished first in her law school class, and “Gary didn’t take one test for me.”



At one candidate forum, Kidney claimed he was endorsed by Kentucky Right to Life, whereupon Moore produced a page from the group’s Web site showing she, not Kidney, got the endorsement.



He has assembled an impressive record of trial and appellate work in 28 years of practice, yet even resorted to hearsay to grossly distort Moore’s judicial staff attorney work. He half-apologized for one cheap shot at her with the excuse: “I got p—– off at your husband.” In Kidney’s 28 years of lawyering, he must have missed the memos about how highly voters and his fellow lawyers value judicial temperament. We back Moore.



For the other appellate judgeship, Fort Mitchell attorney Michelle Keller is running against Fort Thomas lawyer Owen Kennedy. Kennedy has served more than eight years as senior staff attorney for Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Donald Wintersheimer, but has never tried a case. The Bar Association overwhelmingly favored Keller. She has served as a Kenton County assistant prosecutor, written opinions as a certified hearing officer for the Kentucky Attorney General, practiced before the appeals court and tried diverse cases ranging from family law to medical malpractice. We endorse Keller.



The candidates disagreed on appellate court backlogs. Kennedy compared them unfavorably to Supreme Court dockets, but Keller argued less than a year for appeals was very good. They also clashed on whether judges were setting social policy. Kennedy argued voters should be told candidates’ personal views and criticized a court ruling that weakened the fetal homicide standard from moment of fertilization to whether the fetus was viable. Keller argued a judicial candidate’s personal views are irrelevant. The judge has to apply the law to the facts brought out at trial.


 For her more diversified, in-depth experience, we endorse Keller for the Sixth District Appeals Court. 


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