United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky

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United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky
(E.D. Ky.)
Seal of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky
Appeals to Sixth Circuit
Established February 12, 1901
Judges assigned 6
Chief judge Karen K. Caldwell
Official site

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky (in case citations, E.D. Ky.) is the Federal district court whose jurisdiction comprises approximately the Eastern half of the state of Kentucky.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati, Ohio maintains appellate jurisdiction for the district (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).


The Eastern District of Kentucky encompasses the following counties: Anderson, Bath, Bell, Boone, Bourbon, Boyd, Boyle, Bracken, Breathitt, Campbell, Carroll, Carter, Clark, Clay, Elliott, Estill, Fayette, Fleming, Floyd, Franklin, Gallatin, Garrard, Grant, Greenup, Harlan, Harrison, Henry, Jackson, Jessamine, Johnson, Kenton, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Lincoln, McCreary, Madison, Magoffin, Martin, Mason, Menifee, Mercer, Montgomery, Morgan, Nicholas, Owen, Owsley, Pendleton, Perry, Pike, Powell, Pulaski, Robertson, Rockcastle, Rowan, Scott, Shelby, Trimble, Wayne, Whitley, Wolfe, and Woodford.


The United States District Court for the District of Kentucky was one of the original 13 courts established by the Judiciary Act of 1789, 1 Stat. 73, on September 24, 1789.[1][2] At the time, Kentucky was not yet a state, but was within the territory of the state of Virginia. The District was unchanged when Kentucky became a state on June 1, 1792. On February 13, 1801 the Judiciary Act of 1801, 2 Stat. 89, abolished the U.S. district court in Kentucky,[2] but the repeal of this Act restored the District on March 8, 1802, 2 Stat. 132.[2] The District was subdivided into Eastern and Western Districts on February 12, 1901, by 31 Stat. 781.[2]

Meeting places

The federal courthouse at Covington, Kentucky

The court is based in Lexington and also holds sessions in Federal Courthouses in Ashland, Covington, Frankfort, London and Pikeville. The court also meets in Richmond and Jackson. In addition, at one time the court also met in Catlettsburg, however the court left Catlettsburg when the Carl D. Perkins Federal Building and United States Courthouse in Ashland was completed.

U.S. Attorney

The United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Kentucky represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current United States Attorney is Kerry B. Harvey, who was nominated by President Barack Obama in January 2010.

Current Judges

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
14 Chief Judge Karen K. Caldwell Lexington 1956 2001–present 2012–present G.W. Bush
15 District Judge Danny C. Reeves Frankfort 1957 2001–present G.W. Bush
16 District Judge David L. Bunning Covington 1966 2002–present G.W. Bush
17 District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove London 1960 2006–present G.W. Bush
18 District Judge Amul Roger Thapar London 1969 2008–present G.W. Bush
19 District Judge vacant
8 Senior Judge William Odis Bertelsman Covington 1936 1979–2001 1991–1998 2001–present Carter
10 Senior Judge Henry Rupert Wilhoit, Jr. Ashland 1935 1981–2000 1998–2000 2000–present Reagan
12 Senior Judge Joseph Martin Hood Lexington 1942 1990–2007 2005–2007 2007–present G.H.W. Bush

Vacancies and pending nominations

Seat Seat last held by Vacancy reason Date of vacancy Nominee Date of nomination
2 Jennifer B. Coffman Retirement January 8, 2013

Former Judges

# Judge State Born/Died Active service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 Andrew McConnell January Cochran KY 1854–1934 1901–1934[Note 1] McKinley death
2 Hiram Church Ford KY 1884–1969 1935–1963 1948–1963 1963–1969 F. Roosevelt death
3 Mac Swinford KY 1899–1975 1937–1975 1963–1969 F. Roosevelt death
4 Bernard Thomas Moynahan Jr. KY 1918–1999 1963–1984 1969–1984 1984–1999 Kennedy death
5 Howard David Hermansdorfer KY 1931–2003 1972–1981 Nixon resignation
6 Eugene Edward Siler, Jr. KY 1936–present 1975–1991 1984–1991 Ford reappointment
7 Scott Elgin Reed KY 1921–1994 1979–1988 1988–1994 Carter death
9 Green Wix Unthank KY 1923–2013 1980–1988 1988–2013 Carter death
11 Karl Spillman Forester KY 1940–2014 1988–2005 2001–2005 2005-2014 Reagan death
13 Jennifer B. Coffman KY 1948–present 1993–2013 2007–2012 Clinton retirement
  1. Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 5, 1901, confirmed by the United States Senate on December 17, 1901, and received commission on December 17, 1901.

Succession of seats

See also


  1. Asbury Dickens, A Synoptical Index to the Laws and Treaties of the United States of America (1852), p. 391.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 U.S. District Courts of Kentucky, Legislative history, Federal Judicial Center.

External links