Karen K. Caldwell is a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. On October 15, 2012, Caldwell became chief judge of the court.
Born in Stanford, Kentucky, Caldwell graduated from Transylvania University with her bachelor's degree in 1977 and from the University of Kentucky College of Law, with her J.D. degree in 1980.
Caldwell was a Field Claims Representative for State Farm Fire & Casualty from 1980 to 1987. Caldwell was an Adjunct Professor at Eastern Kentucky University from 1984 to 1985 and again in 1987. Caldwell served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky from 1987 to 1990. Caldwell was appointed by President George H.W. Bush to U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky from 1991 to 1993. Caldwell entered into private practice in the State of Kentucky from 1993 to 2001 and also served as an Adjunct Professor at Transylvania University in 2000.
On the recommendation of Senators Mitch McConnell and Jim Bunning, Caldwell was nominated to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky by President George W. Bush on September 4, 2001 to fill a seat vacated by Henry Wilhoit Jr. as Wilhoit assumed Senior Status. Caldwell was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on October 23, 2001 on a Senate vote and received commission on October 24, 2001.