John Gilpin Heyburn II

Senior Judge, Western District of Kentucky, 1992-d. 2015

John Gilpin Heyburn II
John Gilpin Heyburn II served as a judge for the Western District of Kentucky from 1992 to 2015. Heyburn was born on November 12, 1948 in Boston, Massachusetts and was raised in Louisville, Kentucky. He received a bachelor's degree from Harvard College in 1970 and a law degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 1976. Heyburn also served in the US Army Reserve from 1970 to 1976. Following law school, he joined his father's law firm and practiced in Louisville until 1992. On March 20, 1992, President George H.W. Bush nominated Heyburn to serve as a judge for the Western District Court, to a seat vacated by Judge Thomas A. Ballantine Jr. The Senate confirmed his nomination on August 12, 1992. During his years on the Court, he served as chief judge from 2001 to 2008 and as the chair of the Judicial Conference's Committee on the Budget (1997-2004) and the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (2007-2014). Heyburn assumed senior status on April 1, 2014 and served in that capacity until his death on April 29, 2015.

For more information related to Judge Heyburn, see the exhibit Marriage Equality in Kentucky.


Image provided by Dr. Martha K. Heyburn

Archival Materials

Honorable John G. Heyburn II papers, bulk 1992-2015, University of Kentucky Libraries Special Collections Research Center.

Oral Histories

John G. Heyburn II Initiative for Excellence in the Federal Judiciary Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.