Judge Kennedy was born in Detroit on August 4, 1923. She earned a Bachelor of Arts and her law degree from the University of Michigan. She subsequently clerked for the Honorable Harold W. Stephens, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. She was the first woman to clerk for that court.
After 20 years in private practice in Detroit, she was elected to the Wayne County (Michigan) Circuit Court. In 1970 President Richard M. Nixon appointed her to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. She was the first woman to sit on that court, and in 1977 she became the first female chief judge of a federal district court in the United States.
She was elevated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit by President Jimmy Carter in 1979. She was the second woman to sit on that court, and held that position until her retirement on June 30, 2012. Judge Kennedy and her sister, the Honorable Margaret G. Schaeffer, were the first sister judges in the United States. Judge Schaeffer sat on the 47th District Court in Farmington Hills, Michigan from 1974-1992.
Judge Kennedy is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Charles S. and Angela Kennedy; her grandchildren, Elizabeth and Matthew; her sister, Dr. Christine G. Gram; and 28 nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, June 27, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. at Grosse Pointe Congregational Church. A luncheon will follow. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to The Honorable Cornelia G. Kennedy Scholarship, c/o Alexandra Haddad, University of Michigan Law School, 701 S. State St., Suite 4000, Ann Arbor, MI 48109. For more detail, please visit http://www.verheyden.org/book-of-memories/1867695/Kennedy-The-
Posted by Samantha Meinke