John Paul Kennedy

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John Paul Kennedy
Utah Third District Court (retired)
In office
November 2004 – January 1, 2015
Appointed by Gov. Olene Walker

John Paul Kennedy is a retired Third Judicial District court judge in Salt Lake County, Utah. He was appointed to the bench in 2004 and retired as of January 1, 2015, to begin private practice as a mediator/arbitrator.

Early Years and Education[edit]

John Paul Kennedy was born and reared in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He resided there through completion of high school. In elementary school he lived for two years in the area of Boston, Massachusetts, and four years in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He attended Harvard University graduating with honors in 1963. In his senior year, he married his wife whom he met while attending Harvard. Judge Kennedy was captain of the Harvard Freshman and Varsity fencing teams. He received his law degree from Stanford University in 1966, where he was a member of the Board of Editors of the Stanford Law Review.

Kennedy authored articles for the Stanford Law Review such as "Toward Expediting Labor Injuctions under § 10(l) of the Taft-Hartley Act"[1] and "Res Ipsa Loquitur Requires Nursery School to Explain Pupil's Injuries: Res Ipsa Loquitur. Burden of Proof. Infants. Schools and School Districts".[2]

Legal career[edit]

During his 30+ years as a practicing attorney, Kennedy has been involved in some significant litigation. He practiced law in Chicago, Illinois, from 1966 until 1972. Upon arriving in Utah, Kennedy was a partner in various Salt Lake City law firms, including Boyden & Kennedy, Nielson & Senior, and Edwards, McCoy & Kennedy. During his career, his practice focused on labor law, employment relations, and Indian affairs. He served as attorney general or assistant attorney general for seven Indian tribal governments. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the Utah State Bar Association and the Salt Lake County Bar Association. Following retirement from the bench, he re-entered private practice as a mediator/arbitrator under the name John Kennedy Mediation LLC.[3]

Notable Cases as a Lawyer[edit]

Supreme Court of the United States[edit]

US District Courts[edit]

  • Sidney v. MacDonald (1982)
  • Cleveland v. Andress (1978)
  • Hopi Tribe v. Watt (1982)
  • Utah v. United States DOI

US Courts of Appeals[edit]

  • McCurdy v. Steele (1974)
  • Desktop Direct v. Digital Equip. Corp. (1993)
  • Sekaquaptewa v. MacDonald (1978, 1980)
  • Stout v. Te-Moak Tribe of W. Shoshone (2000)

Judicial career[edit]

Judge Kennedy was certified by the Utah Judicial Council to stand for retention in 2008 after having satisfactorily pass his judicial performance evaluations by attorneys and jurors.[5] Judge Kennedy was successfully retained in office by Utah voters. The litigation section of the Utah State Bar has published a "Bench Book" outlining the courtroom practices and preferences of Judge Kennedy.[6]

Personal Background[edit]

In 2001, Judge Kennedy chose to take a sabbatical to serve a religious mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in St. Petersburg, Russia. (He was the president of the church's mission in St. Petersburg.) He remained there until his return to Utah in September 2004. During this time abroad, he learned to speak some conversational Russian . He and his wife have 6 children.


  1. ^ Kennedy, John P. (April 1966). "Toward Expediting Labor Injunctions under § 10(l) of the Taft-Hartley Act". Stanford Law Review. 18 (5): 843–858. JSTOR 1227089. 
  2. ^ Kennedy, John P. (April 1965). "Res Ipsa Loquitur Requires Nursery School to Explain Pupil's Injuries: Res Ipsa Loquitur. Burden of Proof. Infants. Schools and School Districts". Stanford Law Review. 17 (4): 768–774. JSTOR 1227371. 
  3. ^ Kennedy, John P. "Judge John Paul Kennedy Profile" (PDF). Retrieved 2 March 2011. 
  5. ^ "Utah Voter Information Pamphlet" (PDF). Retrieved 13 March 2011. 
  6. ^ "Litigation Section". Utah State Bar 3rd District Bench Books. Retrieved 13 March 2011.