By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT —In a bittersweet ceremony, family and friends of the late Kentucky Supreme Court Justice James E. Keller of Lexington gathered in the Supreme Court chambers Wednesday to dedicate his portrait that will hang on the second floor of the Capitol.
The ceremony had been scheduled before Keller, who spent nearly 30 years on the bench, died June 2 of cancer. He was 71.
Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. called Keller, who spent 22 years on the Fayette Circuit Court, “a force for justice and innovation.” Keller was on the state’s highest court from 1999 to 2005.
Lexington attorney Elizabeth S. Hughes, who chaired a committee that wrote and presented to the Supreme Court a resolution to honor Keller, praised Keller for his work in family law and support for women judges.
Deputy Chief Justice Mary C. Noble, who worked with Keller in Fayette Circuit Court, said, “What he gave to the people of Kentucky came straight from his heart.”
Lexington artist Marcia Park Cone painted the portrait of Keller. It was unveiled by her and family members of Keller to a packed court room.