Charles R. Simpson, III, June 14, 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 early years on the Western District Court, notable cases that he has presided over, and his term as chief judge from 1994 to 2001. Other topics include the culture of the Court, including the relationships that the district judges have with magistrate judges, bankruptcy judges, the United States Attorney’s office, and other entities connected to the Federal Judiciary.

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

Federal judgeships
District court judges
Duty stations
Chief judges


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Charles R. Simpson, III, June 14, 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.