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John David Kelly

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Subject: John Kelly, Kermit Edward Bye, Frank J. Magill
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John David Kelly

John Kelly
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
In office
August 3, 1998 – October 21, 1998
Appointed by Bill Clinton
Preceded by Frank Magill
Succeeded by Kermit Bye
Personal details
Born (1934-10-09)October 9, 1934
Grand Forks, North Dakota, U.S.
Died October 21, 1998(1998-10-21) (aged 64)
Rochester, Minnesota, U.S.
Alma mater Saint John's University
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

John David Kelly (October 9, 1934 – October 21, 1998) was a United States federal circuit judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Early life and education

Born in Grand Forks, North Dakota, Kelly earned a bachelor's degree in 1956 from Saint John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota and a law degree in 1959 from the University of Michigan Law School.[1]

Professional career

A lieutenant in the United States Air Force, Kelly worked as an attorney in the Office of General Counsel at The Pentagon from 1959 until 1962.[2][3]

Kelly returned to North Dakota in 1962. From 1962 until joining the federal bench in 1998, Kelly worked in private legal practice in Fargo, North Dakota, at the Vogel Law Firm. He served as president of the firm for his final 20 years with the firm.[4][5]

Federal judicial service

On January 27, 1998, President Bill Clinton nominated Kelly to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit to replace Frank J. Magill, who had taken senior status in April 1997.[6] The United States Senate confirmed Kelly in a voice vote on July 31, 1998, and began work on the appeals court on August 26, 1998.[7][8]


Shortly after being sworn in, Kelly fell ill with an infection in mid-October 1998 and was taken to the Mayo Clinic.[9] On October 21, 1998, Kelly died in Rochester, Minnesota, before his investiture had taken place. He was survived by his wife, Tish, and three grown children.[10]



  • Federal Judicial Center.
Legal offices
Preceded by
Frank Magill
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
Succeeded by
Kermit Bye

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