Posted: Monday, April 21, 2014
The Honorable Kathryn H. Vratil steps down as Chief Judge on Monday, April 21, 2014, when she assumes senior status. Judge Vratil has served as a federal district court judge since 1992, and as Chief Judge since 2008. Under her leadership, the District of Kansas has continued to enhance its national reputation as a leader in all areas of court operations and governance. She has been active in local legal organizations, including serving as president of the Earl O'Connor Inn of Court, and has initiated numerous educational programs designed to benefit the bar and the courts, including the courthouse historical displays. She was the principal architect of the court's 150th anniversary celebration and program in 2011, has overseen numerous important changes in court operations, and has served and continues to serve on several national committees. Chief Judge Vratil's contributions to both the District of Kansas and the federal courts nationally will continue in her senior position.
Her successor, Judge Tom Marten, was appointed to the bench in 1996. He is a native Kansan with undergraduate and law degrees from Washburn University. After serving as law clerk to retired Associate Justice Tom C. Clark of the United States Supreme Court, he spent 19 years practicing law in Nebraska, Minnesota, and Kansas, the last 14 years of which were as a member of Bremyer & Wise, P.A. in McPherson. Judge Marten is a founding member of the Wesley E. Brown Inn of Court, a frequent speaker at seminars and conferences, and has taught trial advocacy at Harvard Law School for more than 25 years.
As has been true of each new chief judge, Judge Marten brings his own unique perspective to the position. But as is also true of each new chief, continuing to enhance the court's delivery of services through the collaborative efforts of judges, staff, lawyers and litigants remains the core mission.
Timothy M. O'Brien
Clerk of Court
United States District Court, District of Kansas