United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky

United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky
(W.D. Ky.)
Appeals to: Sixth Circuit
Established: February 12, 1901
Judges assigned: 5
Chief Judge: Joseph H. McKinley Jr.

The United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky (in case citations, W.D. Ky.) is the federal district court for the western part of the state of Kentucky.

Appeals from the Western District of Kentucky are taken to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).


Jurisdiction includes the following Kentucky counties: Adair, Allen, Ballard, Barren, Breckinridge, Bullitt, Butler, Caldwell, Calloway, Carlisle, Casey, Christian, Clinton, Crittenden, Cumberland, Daviess, Edmonson, Fulton, Graves, Grayson, Green, Hancock, Hardin, Hart, Henderson, Hickman, Hopkins, Jefferson, LaRue, Livingston, Logan, Lyon, Marion, Marshall, McCracken, McLean, Meade, Metcalfe, Monroe, Muhlenberg, Nelson, Ohio, Oldham, Russell, Simpson, Spencer, Taylor, Todd, Trigg, Union, Warren, Washington, and Webster.

The following counties are in the Louisville Division: Breckinridge, Bullitt, Hardin, Jefferson, LaRue, Marion, Meade, Nelson, Oldham, Spencer, and Washington.

The following counties are in the Bowling Green Division: Adair, Allen, Barren, Butler, Casey, Clinton, Cumberland, Edmonson, Green, Hart, Logan, Metcalf, Monroe, Russell, Simpson, Taylor, Todd, and Warren.

The following counties are in the Owensboro Division: Daviess, Grayson, Hancock, Henderson, Hopkins, McLean, Muhlenberg, Ohio, Union, and Webster.

The following counties are in the Paducah Division: Ballard, Caldwell, Calloway, Carlisle, Christian, Crittenden, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Livingston, Lyon, McCracken, Marshall, and Trigg.


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 court is based in Louisville and also holds sessions in federal courthouses in Bowling Green, Owensboro, and Paducah. The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati, Ohio maintains appellate jurisdiction over the district. Its court in Louisville is located at the Gene Snyder U.S. Courthouse.

U.S. Attorney

The United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Kentucky represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current United States Attorney is John E. Kuhn, Jr.; his predecessor, David J. Hale, was confirmed as a federal judge for the Western District of Kentucky on December 3, 2014.[3]

Current judges

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
20 Chief Judge Joseph H. McKinley Jr. Bowling Green
1954 1995–present 2011–present Clinton
21 District Judge Gregory N. Stivers Bowling Green 1960 2014–present Obama
22 District Judge David J. Hale Louisville 1967 2014–present Obama
District Judge vacant
District Judge vacant
16 Senior Judge Charles Ralph Simpson III Louisville 1945 1986–2013 1994–2001 2013–present Reagan
19 Senior Judge Thomas B. Russell Bowling Green
1945 1994–2011 2008–2011 2011–present Clinton

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
4 John G. Heyburn II Senior Status April 1, 2014

Former Judges

# Judge State Born–died Active service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 Evans, WalterWalter Evans KY 1842–1923 1901–1923[Note 1] McKinley, McKinley death
2 Moorman, Charles HarwoodCharles Harwood Moorman KY 1876–1938 1924–1925 Coolidge, Coolidge reappointment
3 Dawson, Charles I.Charles I. Dawson KY 1881–1969 1925–1935 Coolidge, Coolidge resignation
4 Hamilton, ElwoodElwood Hamilton KY 1883–1945 1935–1938 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt reappointment
5 Swinford, MacMac Swinford KY 1899–1975 1937–1975 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
6 Miller, Jr., ShackelfordShackelford Miller, Jr. KY 1892–1965 1939–1945 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt reappointment
7 Shelbourne, Roy MahlonRoy Mahlon Shelbourne KY 1890–1974 1946–1964 1948–1960 1964–1974 Truman, Truman death
8 Brooks, Henry LuesingHenry Luesing Brooks KY 1905–1971 1954–1969 1960–1969 Eisenhower, Eisenhower reappointment
9 Gordon, James FlemingJames Fleming Gordon KY 1918–1990 1965–1976 1969–1976 1976–1990 Johnson, L.L. Johnson death
10 Bratcher, Clifton RhodesClifton Rhodes Bratcher KY 1917–1977 1970–1977 1976–1977 Nixon, Nixon death
11 Allen, Charles MengelCharles Mengel Allen KY 1916–2000 1971–1985 1977–1985 1985–2000 Nixon, Nixon death
12 Siler, Jr., Eugene EdwardEugene Edward Siler, Jr. KY 1936–present 1975–1991 Ford, Ford reappointment
13 Johnstone, Edward HugginsEdward Huggins Johnstone KY 1922–2013 1977–1993 1985–1990 1993–2013 Carter, Carter death
14 Ballantine, Jr., Thomas AustinThomas Austin Ballantine, Jr. KY 1926–1992 1977–1991 1990–1991 1991–1992 Carter, Carter death
15 Meredith, Ronald EdwardRonald Edward Meredith KY 1946–1994 1985–1994 1991–1994 Reagan, Reagan death
17 Heyburn II, John GilpinJohn Gilpin Heyburn II KY 1948–2015 1992–2014 2001–2008 2014–2015 Bush, G.H.W.G.H.W. Bush death
18 Coffman, Jennifer B.Jennifer B. Coffman KY 1948–present 1993–2013 Clinton, Clinton retirement
  1. Reassigned from District of Kentucky.

Succession of seats

Seat 1
Seat reassigned from District of Kentucky on February 12, 1901 by 31 Stat. 781
Evans 1901–1923
Moorman 1924–1925
Dawson 1925–1935
Hamilton 1935–1938
Miller, Jr. 1939–1945
Shelbourne 1946–1964
Gordon 1965–1976
Johnstone 1977–1993
Russell 1994–2011
Stivers 2014–present

Seat 2
Seat established on June 22, 1936 by 49 Stat. 1806 (concurrent with Eastern District)
Swinford 1937–1975
Siler, Jr. 1975–1991
Coffman 1993–2013
vacant 2013–present

Seat 3
Seat established on February 10, 1954 by 68 Stat. 8
Brooks 1954–1969
Allen 1971–1985
Simpson III 1986–2013
Hale 2014–present

Seat 4
Seat established on June 2, 1970 by 84 Stat. 294
Bratcher 1970–1977
Ballantine, Jr. 1977–1991
Heyburn II 1992–2014
vacant 2014–present

Seat 5
Seat established on July 10, 1984 by 98 Stat. 333
Meredith 1985–1994
McKinley, Jr. 1995–present

See also


  1. Asbury Dickens, A Synoptical Index to the Laws and Treaties of the United States of America (1852), p. 391.
  2. 1 2 3 4 U.S. District Courts of Kentucky, Legislative history, Federal Judicial Center.
  3. "Hale confirmed as federal district judge". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved 4 December 2014.

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