Raymond Kethledge

United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Raymond Michael Kethledge (born December 11, 1966) is a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2008.


  • Clearly, there are limits on the Executive power. There are limits on the Commander-in-Chief power. Youngstown Sheet and Tube tells us that. That was a case where the President issued an Executive Order to seize steel mills, cited exigent circumstances related to the Korean War. The Supreme Court stepped forward and said no, you can't do that. That is a clear example of courts doing, I think, what the Senator described. How does a court go about that? I think that certainly as a court of appeals judge, you start with the Constitution itself. You go to Supreme Court precedent, which is obviously binding on any court of appeals. You look to the prior precedents of one's own circuit, which would be binding as well. The decisionmaking can also be informed by precedents from other circuits. I think you look at those things, and you try to reach a lawful result, which is precisely that and which is not a result which is driven by passion or considerations of the moment. That is why judges have life tenure.
  • I think that the best judges are the ones that seek to apply precedent in good faith. I think most judges do that. But that is something that has to be done in good faith without skewing the precedent one way or the other. At the same time, there has to be a respect for the work of the district courts and not take an ivory tower approach to the review of what happens there. Those judges are the ones that see the people before them. They see the witnesses. The court of appeals just has a cold paper record. I think there has to be a reasonable level of deference given to the judgments of the Article III judge who has the trial before him. And with respect to all of one's colleagues in the judicial system, I think it is very important for a judge to have almost an irrebuttable presumption that every other judge who has looked at a particular issue was doing his or her best to discharge his or her oath just as well as I might be if I am fortunate enough to be confirmed.
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