Honorable John G. Heyburn II papers

Abstract

The Honorable John G. Heyburn II papers (dated 1980-2015; 16.65 cubic feet; 37 boxes) comprise case files, research files, notes, correspondence, news articles, speeches, writings, lesson plans and other curricular materials, photographs, and video tapes that document his legal and judicial career.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Honorable John G. Heyburn II papers
Creator
Heyburn, John G. (John Gilpin), 1948-2015
Extent
16.65 Cubic Feet
Subjects
Same-sex marriage -- Law and legislation.
Judges -- United States.
School integration -- Kentucky -- Jefferson County
Judicial process -- United States
Court administration -- United States
Arrangement
Collection is arranged into five series and nine sub-series. Where possible, original order and original folder names were retained.
Finding Aid Author
Anu Kasarabada
Preferred Citation
2016ms048 : [identification of item], Honorable John G. Heyburn II papers, 1980-2015, bulk 1992-2015, University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.
Repository
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
The Honorable John G. Heyburn II was a District Court Judge on the Western District Court of Kentucky from 1992 to 2015. During his 23 years on the federal bench, he presided over more than 7,645 cases, some of which comprised important questions of constitutional law, including on partial birth abortion and racial guidelines to remedy school segregation.
Judge Heyburn was born on November 12, 1948, in Boston, Mass. and was raised in Louisville, Ky. His mother was Francis Starks Heyburn and his father was Henry Reuter Heyburn, a Kentucky state senator and prominent attorney in Louisville. John Heyburn graduated from Milton Academy in 1966, Harvard University in 1970, and the University of Kentucky School of Law in 1976.
He began his legal career the same year as an associate at the firm then known as Brown, Todd, and Heyburn, where he specialized in litigation within the construction industry. While in private practice, he consulted for then-Jefferson County Judge/Executive Mitch McConnell, with whom he became friends while they both worked on the 1971 gubernatorial campaign of Tom Emberton. He also ran for public office himself, for Jefferson County Attorney in 1981 and for Jefferson County Judge/Executive in 1989. In addition, from 1983 to 1986, he served as a member of the Charter Commission for Louisville and Jefferson County, director of the Louisville Bar Association (1986-1988, 1994-1999), and a lifelong member of the Salmagundi Club, a Louisville social and literary group.
In 1992, Senator Mitch McConnell recommended Heyburn to President George H.W. Bush for appointment to the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. In an unusual show of bipartisan support during an election year, Senator Wendell Ford endorsed Heyburn's nomination.
Within two years of joining the federal bench, Chief Justice William Rehnquist appointed Judge Heyburn to the Budget Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States. He became committee chairman in 1997, testifying regularly before congressional appropriators about the budgetary needs of the Federal Judiciary and consulting with foreign governments on national judicial reforms.
In 2007, Chief Justice John G. Roberts appointed Judge Heyburn to a seven-year term as chair of the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, a component of the Third Branch that identifies complex cases in federal courts across the country and centralizes them for efficiency and consistency.
On the district court bench, Judge Heyburn served as chief judge from 2001 to 2008. In 2014, he presided over Bourke v. Beshear, in which he held as unconstitutional Kentucky's ban on recognizing same-sex marriages. The Supreme Court affirmed his decision in 2015, two months after Judge Heyburn passed away.
Scope and Content
The Honorable John G. Heyburn II papers (dated 1980-2015; 16.65 cubic feet; 37 boxes) comprise case files, research files, notes, correspondence, news articles, speeches, writings, lesson plans and other curricular materials, photographs, and video tapes that document his legal and judicial career. The majority of the collection consists of case files, speeches, and writings that detail Judge Heyburn's judicial, professional, and civic education work as a District Judge on the Western District Court of Kentucky from 1992 to 2015. The collection is particularly strong in documenting Judge Heyburn's decision-making process, including in high-profile cases such as McFarland v. Jefferson County Public Schools (2007), on racial segregation in Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Ky., and Bourke v. Beshear, the 2014 case in which he held as unconstitutional Kentucky's discrimination against same-sex marriages.
One file of photographs and negatives document Judge Heyburn's Senate nomination hearing on August 12, 1992 and his judicial swearing-in ceremony on August 17, 1992. These include images of Judge Heyburn with Kentucky senators Wendell Ford and Mitch McConnell. Video tapes document some of his appearances on the Federal Judicial Television Network, before the Senate Committee on Appropriations as Chairman of the Judicial Conference's Budget Committee, and other select broadcasts.
There are also speeches, correspondence, and video tapes that detail administrative issues managed by the Western District Court in particular and the Federal Judiciary in general.
The collection also includes training materials, news articles, reports, and writings that document Judge Heyburn's professional activities as a private attorney before he joined the federal bench in 1992. These include his participation on the Charter Commission for Louisville and Jefferson County (1982-1983) and seminars he taught on construction law for the Kentucky Bar Association (1982-1991).

Restrictions on Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Access Collection is open to researchers by appointment.
Use Restrictions
Property rights reside with the University of Kentucky. The University of Kentucky holds the copyright for materials created in the course of business by University of Kentucky employees. Copyright for all other materials has not been assigned to the University of Kentucky. For information about permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the Special Collections Research Center.

Contents of the Collection

Biographical files, 1992, 2005-2015

This series comprises three folders of photographs, negatives, papers, and booklets that primarily document the judicial career of Judge John G. Heyburn II. One file of photographs and negatives document Judge Heyburn's Senate nomination hearing on August 12, 1992 and his judicial swearing-in ceremony on August 17, 1992 to become District Court Judge on the Western District of Kentucky. These include images of Judge Heyburn with Kentucky senators Wendell Ford and Mitch McConnell. Also included are draft entries for the Almanac of the Federal Judiciary. There are also programs from his Life Celebration organized by his wife, Dr. Martha Heyburn, to mark his passing on April 29, 2015. The series is organized chronologically by date.

Swearing-in ceremony, 1992 August 12-17

  • Box 1, folder 1
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Almanac of the Federal Judiciary, 2005-2015

  • Box 1, folder 2
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[Life celebration], [2015 May 8]

  • Box 1, folder 3
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Case-related files, 1992-2015

This series comprises opinions and orders, draft opinions, law clerk memos, notes, correspondence, news articles, research files, and court filings that document some of the cases over which Judge John G. Heyburn II presided, as well as his overall process for judicial decision-making. There are also lists and other compilations that document Judge Heyburn's significant cases, appealed decisions, and other summary information about his body of work. Materials mostly relate to civil cases. The series is not comprehensive of the cases over which Judge Heyburn presided.

Opinions and Orders, 1992-2010

This subseries comprises published opinions and orders that document Judge Heyburn's decisions in specific cases. Each opinion includes a Memorandum Opinion Topic cover sheet that contains the case name and docket number. Other information on topic sheets may include: topics and areas of law considered in the opinion, law clerk's first name and last initial, and the date that the law clerk filed the opinion and topic sheet in Judge Heyburn's filing system. The subseries is not comprehensive of Judge Heyburn's body of decisions. Many of these opinions, however, are not available electronically through the Court's public access system. Opinions are filed alphabetically by plaintiff's name, and folders of opinions are organized alphabetically by letter.

A, 1994-2004

  • Box 1, folder 4-6
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B, 1993-2006

  • Box 1, folder 7
  • Box 2, folder 1-5
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C, 1992-2007

  • Box 2, folder 6
  • Box 3, folder 1-4
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D, 1992-2005

  • Box 3, folder 5-6
  • Box 4, folder 1
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E, 1994-2003

  • Box 4, folder 2-3
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F, 1992-2007

  • Box 4, folder 4-6
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G, 1992-2005

  • Box 5, folder 1-3
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H, 1992-2004, 2009-2010

  • Box 5, folder 4-6
  • Box 6, folder 1-2
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I, 1993, 1998-2000

  • Box 6, folder 3
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J, 1993-2003

  • Box 6, folder 4-5
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K, 1992-2003

  • Box 6, folder 6-7
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L, 1992-2010

  • Box 7, folder 1-2
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M, 1992-2007

  • Box 7, folder 3-6
  • Box 8, folder 1
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N, 1993-2010

  • Box 8, folder 2
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O, 1993, 1995

  • Box 8, folder 3
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P, 1992-2004

  • Box 8, folder 4-5
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R, 1992-2005

  • Box 8, folder 6-7
  • Box 9, folder 1
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S, 1992-2010

  • Box 9, folder 2-6
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T, 1992-2004

  • Box 10, folder 1-3
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U - V, 1993-2001

  • Box 10, folder 4
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W, 1992-2005

  • Box 10, folder 5-6
  • Box 11, folder 1
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X, Y, Z, 1994-2002

  • Box 11, folder 2
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Summary case files, 1992-2015

This subseries primarily comprises lists and compilations that provide information on Judge Heyburn's overall body of work. The lists detail his published opinions, significant cases, and cases that went to trial. Compilations consist of summary information on decisions that were appealed and all Memorandum opinion topic cover sheets. The subseries is organized alphabetically by folder title.

Appealed decisions 1994-2013, 2013

  • Box 11, folder 3
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Memorandum opinions list, 2014

  • Box 11, folder 4
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Memorandum opinions topic memo sheets, 2001-2015

  • Box 11, folder 5-6
  • Box 12, folder 1-2
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Published opinions lists, undated

  • Box 12, folder 3
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Significant cases list, undated

  • Box 12, folder 4
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Trial list, 1992-2014

  • Box 12, folder 5
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Jefferson County Public Schools cases, 1998-2007

This subseries comprises draft opinions, law clerk memos, notes, and research files that document Judge Heyburn's decision-making process in two major school racial segregation cases, Hampton, et al. v. Jefferson County Board of Education, et al. (docket number 3:98CV-262-H) and McFarland v. Jefferson County Public Schools, et al (docket number 3:02CV-620-H). Many of these files contain the Judge's annotations. Research files include caselaw, news articles, census data, bibliographies, and staff reports from the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights. This subseries is organized chronologically by docket number and then alphabetically by folder title.

3:98CV-262-H - 1985 briefs, 1998-2000

  • Box 12, folder 6
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3:98CV-262-H - newspaper articles, 1998-2000

  • Box 12, folder 7-8
  • Box 13, folder 1
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3:98CV-262-H - notes, 1998-2000

  • Box 13, folder 2
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3:98CV-262-H - opinion drafts, 2000

  • Box 13, folder 3-5
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3:98CV-262-H - published opinions, 2007

  • Box 13, folder 6
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3:98CV-262-H - research materials, 1998-2000

  • Box 13, folder 7
  • Box 14, folder 1-3
Some materials are not digitized due to copyright restrictions. To top

3:98CV-262-H - working file, 1999-2000

  • Box 14, folder 4-6
Some materials are not digitized due to copyright restrictions. To top

3:02CV-620-H - law clerk memos and caselaw

  • Box 15, folder 1-3
Some materials are not digitized due to copyright restrictions. To top

3:02CV-620-H - opinion drafts, 2004

  • Box 15, folder 4-6
  • Box 16, folder 1-6
  • Box 17, folder 1-4
Some materials are not digitized due to copyright restrictions. Pages may also be out of order within individual folders. To top

[Bibliography], [2018]

  • Box 17, folder 5
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Discrimination - preemption/abstention/declaratory relief, 2012?

  • Box 17, folder 6
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[Research - various], [1998-2000]

  • Box 17, folder 7
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Other case files, 1992-2014

This subseries comprises draft opinions and outlines, law clerk memos, notes, correspondence, court filings, caselaw, news articles, and research files that document Judge Heyburn's decision-making process in various cases. The subseries is not comprehensive of the cases over which Judge Heyburn presided. It does, however, include a number of his civil cases, including two high-profile cases, Eubanks v. Stengel (docket number 3:98CV-262-H), regarding the constitutionality of Kentucky's 1998 Kentucky Partial Birth Abortion Act, and Bourke v. Beshear (docket number 3:13-CV-750), the 2014 case in which he ruled that Kentucky's discrimination against same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. There are also two criminal case files. Many files include annotations from Judge Heyburn and various law clerks. This subseries is organized chronologically by docket number and then alphabetically by folder title.

CR-92-00054-L(H) - USA v. Mays - trial forms - complex cases, 1994?

  • Box 17, folder 8
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CR-94-00018-BG, USA v. Smith & Wells (working file), 1995-1996

  • Box 17, folder 9
Some materials are not digitized due to copyright restrictions. To top

3:98-CV-383-H, Eubanks v. Stengel, 1998-2000

  • Box 18, folder 1-7
  • Box 19, folder 1
Some materials are not digitized due to copyright restrictions.