Charles R. Simpson, III, April 11, 2018


Charles R. Simpson, III is a Senior District Judge on the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky.

In this interview, Judge Simpson discusses his undergraduate and law school education at the University of Louisville, private practice as an insurance defense attorney, his personal and professional ties to Mitch McConnell, and his nomination to the federal bench in 1986. Other topics include his childhood in Louisville, a grand tour of Europe, his career as a bankruptcy trustee, and the federal nominations process in Kentucky in the 1970s and 1980s.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1945, Judge Simpson grew up in Louisville, Kentucky and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1967 from the University of Louisville. He received his Juris Doctor in 1970 from the University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law. Thereafter, Simpson developed a private practice, advised Mitch McConnell, held various local political offices, and served as a bankruptcy trustee until 1986. On June 6, 1986, President Ronald Reagan nominated him to a seat on the Western District Court of Kentucky that was vacated by Judge Charles M. Allen. The United States Senate confirmed him two months later. After 27 years on the bench, Simpson took senior status in February 2013. Simpson is a member of the Judicial Conference and a former chairman of the Conference’s Committee on International Judicial Relations.




Anu Kasarabada


Charles R. Simpson, III

Interview Keyword

Economics majors
Draft notices
Insurance cases
James Graham Brown
Bankruptcy cases
Republican lawyers
Jefferson County Judge/Executive
Bruce Miller
Federal judgeships
Judicial nominations
Nomination process
Blue slips
Federal Judicial Selection Commission
District court judges


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Charles R. Simpson, III, April 11, 2018, John G. Heyburn II Initiative for Excellence in the Federal Judiciary Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.