Federal Judge David Bunning has ordered Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis to jail for contempt of court for refusing to issue marriage licenses.
Davis has not issued marriage licenses in Rowan County, Kentucky, since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage because of her Christian beliefs.
Here’s what you need to know about Bunning:
1. He Was Assigned the Case After Another Judge’s Recusal
Bunning was assigned the Kim Davis case on August 26 after Judge Henry Wilhoit recused himself for unknown reasons, according to court documents.
“David is an honest person,” his mother Mary Bunning, told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “He doesn’t agree with the Supreme Court but has to obey the law.”
2. He Was Appointed to the Federal Court By President George W. Bush
Bunning, who was born in 1966 in Fort Thomas, Kentucky, was appointed to the Eastern District of Kentucky court on September 4, 2001, by President George W. Bush, according to his biography on the Federal Judicial Center website.
He was nominated to fill a seat vacated by William Bertelsman and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on February 14, 2002.
“He leaves his political views at home,” Mark Guilfoyle, a prominent Democrat and attorney in Northern Kentucky who grew up with Bunning, told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Any litigant can rest assured that Judge Bunning is going to look at a case with reference to precedent and legal authorities without any preconceived prejudice.”
3. He Is the Son of Former Senator & Hall of Fame Pitcher Jim Bunning
Judge David Bunning is the son of Jim Bunning, a former U.S. Senator from Kentucky who is in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Jim Bunning, who won 224 games while pitching in the major leagues from 1955 to 1971, served as a Republican senator from 1999 to 2011.
The elder Bunning also served as the U.S. Representative for Kentucky’s 4th district from 1987 to 1999.
4. He Graduated From the University of Kentucky Law School
Judge Bunning earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky in 1988 and then graduated from the University of Kentucky Law School in 1991.
5. He Was a Federal Prosecutor Before He Became a Judge
After graduating from the University of Kentucky’s law school, Bunning worked as a law clerk in the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky’s office. He then became an assistant U.S. attorney in the same office, working as a federal prosecutor from 1991 to 2002, when he was appointed to the bench by President Bush.