Senate Hearing on Jane Kelly's Court of Appeals Nomination

By Trish Mehaffey, Reporter


By Liz Blood

DES MOINES, Iowa - The Senate Judiciary Committee set a hearing for Assistant Federal Public Defender Jane Kelly, who was nominated last month as the next 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judge.

The hearing is set 2 p.m. Feb. 27, and will be live streamed. Her nomination is the only one scheduled.

There are four other judge nominees ahead of her waiting for a floor vote and three others who haven't made it to the floor but University of Richmond School of Law Prof. Carl Tobias, who analyzes the judiciary, said last month Kelly's nomination was likely to get to the floor quicker because of support from both Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin. Grassley is the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee.

Several non-profit coalitions, including One Iowa, Working Families Win, Iowa Citizen Action Network and Progress Iowa, also urged Grassley last month to quickly move Kelly through the process.

If confirmed by the Senate, Kelly will replace retired Judge Michael Melloy, and become only the second woman to serve on the 8th Circuit bench. Judge Diana Murphy in Minneapolis is currently the only woman ever appointed to the court.

Several colleagues and friends of Kelly came out in support of her after President Obama nominated her last month. Kelly is well known and respected for her "zealous" advocacy of defendants.

Kelly, who graduated with Obama from Harvard Law in 1991, has been an assistant public defender in the Northern District since 1994 and supervising attorney in the Cedar Rapids office since 1999.

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