Ky.'s First Black Supreme Court Justice Dies
Former Kentucky Supreme Court Justice William E. McAnulty Jr., the first black man on the state's highest court, has died.
Jessica Loving, a spokeswoman for the McAnulty family, said the judge died at about 10:15 p.m. Thursday at home with his family.
She said he was under the care of hospice "and passed away peacefully."
McAnulty, 59, resigned from the court about two weeks ago. He announced in early July he'd been diagnosed with lung cancer that had spread to his brain.
House Speaker Jody Richards called McAnulty "a thoughtful, intelligent justice" who will be sorely missed. "He had an unmatched wit," said Richards who attended McAnulty's swearing-in ceremony last year.
The family is finalizing arrangements, but there will be a memorial service at Highland Presbyterian Church in Louisville, probably early next week, Loving said. McAnulty is to be cremated but there will be a burial service at Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville.
Loving said the family is providing information at www.justicemcanulty.com.
In a statement released Aug. 9, McAnulty said, "Serving on Kentucky's Supreme Court has been the most satisfying experience in my career.
"However, my family and I will now devote our energies to completing my cancer treatment."
McAnulty said previously that his cancer was caused by smoking, a habit he quit in December. The justice had surgery July 11 to remove a mass from his brain, and was to receive radiation treatment and chemotherapy for the cancer in his lungs. At the time, he had said he would stay on the court, and he promised to work and write opinions from his bed.
"Justice McAnulty has had an extraordinary career in the Kentucky judiciary," Supreme Court Chief Justice Joseph E. Lambert said when McAnulty resigned. "He has served on all four levels of Kentucky state courts with ability, honor and distinction."
McAnulty was appointed by Fletcher in June 2006 to fill a vacancy in the 4th Supreme Court District, which consists of Jefferson County.
He defeated a tough challenge from Jefferson Circuit Judge Ann O'Malley Shake to win election in November. McAnulty's successor will be chosen by Gov. Ernie Fletcher from three names to be presented to him by a nominating commission. Lambert is expected to call a meeting of the commission soon. The successor will serve until the November 2008 election.