Cornelia Groefsema Kennedy

Cornelia Groefsema Kennedy (b. August 4, 1923) is a Senior Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.


Kennedy 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 less than 100 votes. 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.

Jimmy Carter elevated Kennedy to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in 1979.

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