Justice Robert B. Conley was elected in November 2020 to serve the 7th Supreme Court District, which comprises 32 Eastern Kentucky counties. Justice Conley joined the state’s highest court after 26 years as a trial court judge for Greenup and Lewis counties.
In 1994, Justice Conley was appointed by Governor Brereton Jones to fill a vacancy in the 20th Judicial District Court and then was elected to that seat for three successive terms. In 2006, he was elected to the 20th Judicial Circuit Bench, where he served until his election to the Supreme Court. While a circuit judge, he also presided over the Greenup/Lewis Drug Court, which was recognized by the National Drug Court Institute in 2010 as a mentor court to help train Drug Court personnel from all over the Eastern United States.
Prior to taking the bench, he worked in Ashland, KY as an associate in the law firm of McKenzie, Woolery & Emrick PSC, a corporate attorney with Addington Mining/Addington Environmental Inc. and as attorney for the Greenup County School Board.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and business from the University of Kentucky in 1981 and a juris doctor from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University in 1984. He worked his way through UK and his first year of law school as a steelworker for ARMCO Steel Inc.
Justice Conley is married to Melanie Simpson-Conley of Lexington, KY. Simpson has a daughter, the late Alexandra H. Simpson. He was married to the late Melanie Stephens Conley for 28 years and they have two children, Katlyn Ann Conley and Robert B. Conley II. He has been active in his community as a coach for youth baseball, football, softball and soccer teams. He has also been involved in Bridges Christian Church in Russell, KY as a Sunday school teacher, adult Bible study leader, deacon and elder.