Alaska federal judge Joshua Kindred abruptly resigns

Alaska U.S. District Court Judge Joshua Kindred abruptly resigned from the federal bench this week without explanation.

Kindred, 46, was appointed to the District Court of Alaska by former President Donald Trump in 2019 and confirmed in 2020. Formerly an Anchorage prosecutor and an attorney at the Alaska Oil and Gas Association, Kindred was 42 when he became a federal judge, making him among the youngest of a wave of judges appointed by Trump.

Federal judgeships are lifetime appointments, and resignations are rare. It’s not clear why Kindred is stepping down.

Kindred wrote a one-page letter to President Joe Biden on Wednesday, giving his formal notice of resignation. The letter gave no reason why he was resigning. It’s effective on Monday.

Questions to Kindred’s chambers on Friday were directed to Candice Duncan, chief clerk of the U.S. District Court of Alaska. Duncan said in a prepared statement that all of Kindred’s 77 open criminal cases and 148 civil cases would be reassigned Friday.

“The Clerk’s Office has no further information regarding Judge Kindred’s resignation,” Duncan said.

Kindred was picked by Trump to replace U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline in 2019. He was deemed qualified by the Alaska Bar Association but was rated 16th of 20 applicants. U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski told Alaska Public Media at the time that Trump was looking to appoint younger judges to the bench.


The U.S. District Court of Alaska has three active district judges, five “senior judges,” who are in semi-retired status, and a handful of magistrate judges assisting. With Kindred’s resignation, Chief Judge Sharon Gleason is the only active district court judge serving in Alaska.

“With only one Article III district judge position filled at this time, the increased caseloads will lead to some delays due to the reassigned judge’s availability and/or due to the reassigned judge’s increased case load,” Duncan said in a statement posted online. “It is possible that judges from other federal district courts may be available to sit as visiting judges in the District of Alaska.”

Senior judges are district judges that have met age and service requirements and typically take a reduced caseload. Some of Alaska’s five senior judges could agree to hear some of the cases reassigned from Kindred, Duncan said.

“Judge Kindred will not qualify to serve as a senior judge due to his resignation,” she added.

Former Alaska Chief Judge Timothy Burgess retired at the end of 2021 when he reached the minimum retirement age of 65 for federal judges. Burgess has been a senior judge since then.

Burgess’ seat on the court has remained vacant since 2022. Federal judges are nominated by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. By convention, the names of potential nominees are often chosen by home-state senators.

U.S. Sens. Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and Rep. Mary Peltola did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday on Kindred’s vacancy or the effort to fill Burgess’ seat.

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Sean Maguire

Sean Maguire is a politics and general assignment reporter for the Anchorage Daily News based in Juneau. He previously reported from Juneau for Alaska's News Source. Contact him at smaguire@adn.com.