David L. Bunning

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David L. Bunning
David L. Bunning.JPG
Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky
Assumed office
February 19, 2002
Appointed by George W. Bush
Preceded by William Odis Bertelsman
Personal details
Born David Louis Bunning
(1966-07-14) July 14, 1966 (age 52)
Fort Thomas, Kentucky, U.S.
Alma mater University of Kentucky
University of Kentucky College of Law

David Louis Bunning (born July 14, 1966)[1] is a United States federal judge. Bunning is the son of former Republican Senator Jim Bunning, a Hall of Fame baseball pitcher who represented Kentucky in the United States Senate from 1999 to 2011.[2]

Life and career

Bunning was born in Fort Thomas, Kentucky, the son of Mary Catherine (Theis) and Jim Bunning. He received an undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky in 1988 and a J.D. from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 1991.[2] He was a law clerk in the U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Kentucky in 1991, and was an assistant U.S. Attorney in that office from 1991 to 2002.

Bunning was nominated by President George W. Bush on September 4, 2001, to a seat on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, which was vacated by William O. Bertelsman. On December 10, 2001, representatives of the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Federal Judiciary testified before the United States Senate Committee of the Judiciary for the ABA's majority opinion that Bunning was unqualified for the position of a Federal District Court Judge due to his age of 35, a lack of complex civil case experience as a federal attorney, and his "middle-of-the-class law school" experience at the University of Kentucky.[3] He was confirmed by the United States Senate on February 14, 2002, and received his commission on February 19, 2002.[2]

Notable cases

On September 3, 2015, Bunning issued a contempt of court ruling against Rowan County clerk Kim Davis and had her jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.[4] Bunning said in his ruling, "Our form of government will not survive unless we, as a society, agree to respect the U.S. Supreme Court's decisions, regardless of our personal opinions. Davis is certainly free to disagree with the Court's opinion, as many Americans likely do, but that does not excuse her from complying with it. To hold otherwise would set a dangerous precedent."[5]


  1. Tenkotte, Paul A.; Claypool, James C., eds. (February 5, 2015). "Bunning, David L.". The Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky. Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky. p. 132. Retrieved September 5, 2015. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Phillip, Abby; Larimer, Sarah (September 4, 2015). "'He has guts': David Bunning, the same-sex marriage decision's unlikely enforcer". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  3. Trimmier, Jr., Roscoe; Weiner, David C. (10 Dec 2001), Statement of Roscoe C Trimmier, Jr. and David C. Weiner, Standing Committee on Federal Judiciary, American Bar Association, concerning the nomination of David L. Bunning to be Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, before the Committee of the Judiciary, United States Senate (PDF), Washington D.C., United States 
  4. McLaughlin, Eliott C.; Shoichet, Catherine E. (September 3, 2015). "Kim Davis stands firm on same-sex marriage; the Kentucky clerk stays in jail". CNN news. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  5. Blevins, Walter (August 12, 2015). "Liberty.edu" (PDF). www.liberty.edu. 

External links

Legal offices
Preceded by
William Odis Bertelsman
Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky