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Van Tatenhove confirmed by Senate for judgeship

January 12, 2006|Lisa King

Wilmore native Greg Van Tatenhove won Senate approval in December for appointment to the federal bench.

An Asbury College alumnus, Van Tatenhove stepped down as federal prosecutor on Jan. 6 to accept the judgeship.

Van Tatenhove has served as United States attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky since 2001, during which time he launched a federal crackdown on vote fraud. He also oversaw the organization of the office in response to the growing threat of terrorism after the events of September 11. He oversaw the increased prosecution of gun crimes under the Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative, as well as cases involving child exploitation.

After assuming the federal judgeship, he will handle cases primarily out of Pikeville. A University of Kentucky Law School graduate, Van Tatenhove will fill the vacancy created on the federal bench when Judge Karl Forester took senior status.

Van Tatenhove earned a bachelor's degree in history from Asbury College in 1982, and a J.D. from the University of Kentucky in 1989. He served as president of the college from 1999 to 2000.

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Bob Bridges, vice president for institutional advancement at Asbury College, described Van Tatenhove as "intense, fair, and friendly."

"Those are qualities that are important in any person, but even more so in a judicial aspect," Bridges said. "We could not be more proud of Greg; he embodies all that we could wish for our graduates."

Van Tatenhove, 45, was chief of staff and legal counsel to Representative Ron Lewis from 1994-2001. Prior to his work with Lewis, Van Tatenhove participated in the attorney general's Honor's Program as a trial attorney in the Federal Programs Branch of the Civil Division. He spent nearly four years litigating on behalf of the government in federal courts around the country. He was one of 11 lawyers chosen nationwide by the Branch to participate in the program. He also clerked for the Honorable Eugene E. Siler Jr. when the judge was the chief justice of the United States Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky.

Van Tatenhove also served as a legislative assistant for Senator McConnell prior to law school.

The judge said he feels honored to have been appointed.

"There are lots of very deserving people who don't ever get to have this opportunity."

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