Trump-appointed judge in Alaska resigns after just 4 years

Joshua Kindred at his confirmation hearing in the U.S. Senate. (Screenshot from Senate Judiciary Committee video)

Alaska U.S. District Court Judge Joshua Kindred has announced his resignation.

He cited no reason in his resignation letter, dated July 3. The court posted it on its website Friday, and it takes effect Monday.

It’s an unusual move. Federal judges have lifetime appointments and typically remain on the bench for decades. Then-President Donald Trump nominated him in 2019, when Kindred was 41, with the approval of both of Alaska’s U.S. senators. 

The selection sidestepped what had been the normal procedure senators employ to ensure appointments don’t look like backroom deals. 

He wasn’t the senators’ first choice.

“I don’t think I’m divulging any great secrets: This administration has made it very clear they are looking for younger men and women to serve on the bench,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski said in 2019.

Kindred was sworn in in early 2020. He previously worked as an attorney for the Alaska Oil and Gas Association. He left that job to work for the Interior Department in 2018. Earlier in his career he worked as an assistant district attorney, supervising the prosecution of violent crimes.

Alaska is authorized to have three U.S. District Court judges but Kindred’s resignation leaves Alaska with just one working full-time: Sharon Gleason. She is assisted by five judges on senior status, which allows them to take a lighter caseload.

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent at Alaska Public Media. Reach her Read more about Lizhere.

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