Paul Joseph Kelly Jr. (born 1940) is a United States federal judge sitting on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. His chambers are in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Born in Freeport, New York, Kelly received a B.B.A. from the University of Notre Dame in 1963 and a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law in 1967.
Judge Kelly began his career at the law firm Cravath, Swaine, and Moore in New York City. He was then in private practice in Santa Fe, New Mexico from 1967 to 1992. He was a New Mexico state representative from 1977 to 1981.
On November 19, 1991, Kelly was nominated by President George H.W. Bush to a new seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit created by 104 Stat. 5089. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on April 8, 1992, and received his commission on April 13, 1992.
In October 2008, Judge Kelly was honored in the Great Hall of the United States Supreme Court building with the Professionalism Award of the American Inns of Court for the Tenth Circuit.
Judge Kelly still works as a volunteer fire and emergency service volunteer. He is also an avid golfer and skier.
A law review article entitled "Who Would Win a Tournament of Judges" lists Judge Kelly as one of the most commonly cited appellate judges currently serving. Only Judge Posner and Judge Easterbrook consistently bested Kelly.
Judge Kelly stated in an Above the Law article that he has no set judicial philosophy—he has decisions landing on both sides of the spectrum.