Cornelia Groefsema Kennedy
|Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit|
September 26, 1979 – August 7, 2012
|Appointed by||Jimmy Carter|
|Preceded by||Seat established|
|Succeeded by||Susan Neilson|
|Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan|
October 21, 1977 – September 26, 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 – September 26, 1979
|Appointed by||Richard Nixon|
|Preceded by||Thaddeus Machrowicz|
|Succeeded by||Horace Gilmore|
August 4, 1923
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
|Died||May 12, 2014
Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of Michigan, Ann
Arbor BA '45. JD '47.
Cornelia Kennedy (née Groefsema; August 4, 1923 – May 12, 2014) was a Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Cornelia Groefsema grew up in Detroit, Michigan. She graduated at the top of her class from the University of Michigan Law School. After law school, she clerked for the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Judge Harold Stephens, where she was 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, the Hon. Margaret G. Schaeffer, were the first sister judges in the United States. Schaeffer sat on the 47th District Court in Farmington Hills, Michigan from 1974–92.
The next year she ran again and won. In 1970 Kennedy was appointed by Richard Nixon to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. In 1977 Kennedy became the chief judge on that court, becoming the first woman to serve as chief judge of a U.S. district court. President Jimmy Carter elevated Kennedy to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in 1979. 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.
Connection Distributing v. Keisler
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.
Cornelia Kennedy died at age 90 on May 12, 2014.
- Judge Cornelia G. Kennedy: First Lady of the Michigan Judiciary, michbar.org; accessed May 14, 2014.
- Obituary for the Hon. Cornelia Kennedy, obitsforlife.com; accessed May 14, 2014.
- Profile, FJC.gov; accessed May 14, 2014.
- "Obituary: Judge Cornelia Groefsema Kennedy (1923-2014)". Michigan Lawyer's Weekly. May 20, 2014. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
|Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
|Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
|New seat||Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit