Cornelia Groefsema Kennedy
|Senior Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit|
March 1, 1999 – May 12, 2014
|Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit|
September 26, 1979 – March 1, 1999
|Appointed by||Jimmy Carter|
|Preceded by||Seat established by 92 Stat. 1629|
|Succeeded by||Susan Bieke Neilson|
|Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan|
October 21, 1977 – October 3, 1979
|Preceded by||Damon Keith|
|Succeeded by||John Feikens|
|Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan|
October 7, 1970 – October 3, 1979
|Appointed by||Richard Nixon|
|Preceded by||Thaddeus M. Machrowicz|
|Succeeded by||Horace Weldon Gilmore|
August 4, 1923
|Died||May 12, 2014 (aged 90)|
Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan
|Education||University of Michigan (B.A.)|
University of Michigan Law School (J.D.)
Cornelia Groefsema Kennedy (née Groefsema; August 4, 1923 – May 12, 2014) was a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, Kennedy graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1945 and at the top of her class from the University of Michigan Law School with a Juris Doctor in 1947. After law school, she clerked for Chief Judge Harold Montelle Stephens of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, where she was one of the first woman to clerk on that court. In 1965 Kennedy ran for Wayne County Circuit Court judge and lost by fewer than 100 votes. Kennedy and her sister, Judge Margaret G. Schaeffer, were the first sister judges in the United States. Schaeffer sat on the 47th District Court in Farmington Hills, Michigan from 1974 to 1992. She was in private practice of law in Detroit from 1948 to 1966. She was a judge of the Michigan Circuit Court for the Third Judicial Circuit from 1966 to 1970.
Kennedy was nominated by President Richard Nixon on September 3, 1970, to a seat on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan vacated by Judge Thaddeus M. Machrowicz. She was confirmed by the United States Senate on October 6, 1970, and received her commission on October 7, 1970. She served as Chief Judge from 1977 to 1979, becoming the first woman chief judge of a federal district court. Her service was terminated on October 3, 1979, due to elevation to the Sixth Circuit.
Kennedy was nominated by President Jimmy Carter on April 9, 1979, to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, to a new seat created by 92 Stat. 1629. She was confirmed by the Senate on September 25, 1979, and received her commission on September 26, 1979. She assumed senior status on March 1, 1999, serving in that status until her death.
In 1981 President Ronald Reagan had narrowed his search for Justice Potter Stewart's replacement to Kennedy and Sandra Day O'Connor as the first woman on the United States Supreme Court, before eventually choosing O'Connor for the vacant seat. Kennedy was also on the shortlist for the seat vacated by the departure of William O. Douglas, which eventually went to John Paul Stevens.
Kennedy authored the majority opinion in Connection Distributing Co. v. Keisler, 505 F.3d 545 (6th Cir. 2007), which declared Section 2257 of the Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act unconstitutional. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit en banc vacated the decision and upheld Section 2257 in Connection Distributing Co. v. Holder with Kennedy authoring the primary dissent.
Thaddeus M. Machrowicz
| Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
Horace Weldon Gilmore
| Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
Seat established by 92 Stat. 1629
| Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
Susan Bieke Neilson