Heyburn initiative honors his pursuit of justice


U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell details the Heyburn Initiative for Excellence in the Federal Judiciary, named for the late U.S. Senior District Judge John G. Heyburn II, after its announcement at the University of Kentucky’s Main Building on Monday, October 10, 2016, in Lexington, Ky. The national, nonpartisan initiative aims to “establish an archives and oral history program for Kentucky’s federal judges and a national lecture series on relevant judicial topics,” as well as “play host to federal judicial conferences,” according to a press release. Photo by Joshua Qualls | Staff

Elisa Diaz

Dr. Martha Heyburn announced the John G. Heyburn Initiative for Excellence in the Federal Judiciary at UK on Monday. 

This initiative is in honor of Judge Jonn G. Heyburn II, a UK College of Law graduate who passed away this past April. 

Judge Heyburn was well recognized for overturning and standing up against the state of Kentucky’s ban on same-sex marriage. 

“This national treasure is located at our very own flagship university, UK,” said Martha Heyburn, wife of 39 years to Judge Heyburn.

President Eli Capilouto, along with Dr. Heyburn, also explained what the initiative meant for UK.

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It will help enhance not only the resources provided for students but will also help build understanding of the third branch of government.“The University of Kentucky is proud to be a keeper of this flame,”Capilouto said.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was one of the many present on Monday and helped introduce the Heyburn Initiative.

Although McConnell in the past disagreed on former issues with Judge Heyburn, he did recommend Heyburn to former President George H.W. Bush who selected Heyburn to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky in 1992. 

“This is a remarkable achievement and gift to the university,” McConnell said.

UK will be the central place that will hold a collection of archives and oral history of people who have served in the Federal Judiciary who are from the state of Kentucky as well as those in the United States Supreme Court. 

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The archives will be available online for easy access to not only students, but staff members and the community as well. 

The main goal is to serve the students at the university, the community and the nation.

The intiative will also bring in a series of guest speakers to speak at the university, the first being U.S. Chief of Justice John Roberts.