Iowa Fair Courts Coalition Celebrates Jane Kellys Confirmation to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals

Coalition Urges Sen. Grassley to Continue to Move Qualified Judicial Candidates through the Senate

(Des Moines, IA)Today, the Senate confirmed the nomination of Jane Kelly, of Iowa, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Eighth Circuit by a vote of 96-0. The vote will be posted at

The Iowa Fair Courts Coalition celebrates the United States Senates confirmation of Jane Kelly to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. President Barack Obama nominated Jane Kelly to serve on the Eighth Circuit the jurisdiction of which includes Iowa on January 31. She brings diversity and strong experience to the Court as the first former public defender, and only the second woman, to ever sit on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

On April 10, Senator Grassley introduced the Court Efficiency Act, S.699, which would, if enactedeliminate three of the 11 judges from the D.C. Circuit, and add one seat each to the Second Circuit and the 11th Circuit.

Statement from the Iowa Fair Courts Coalition:

“The Iowa Fair Courts Coalition celebrates Jane Kelly’s confirmation to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Kellys breadth of experience as a public defender and her perspective as only the second woman to ever serve on the Eighth Circuit Court will bring valuable diversity to the bench that will benefit all people served by this court, including Iowans.

While we applaud this progress, many qualified judges still remain held up in the Senate. We call upon the Senate and Senator Grassley to stand up for justice, end obstruction for obstructions sake, and swiftly confirm qualified judicial nominees, including those nominated to fill vacancies on the D.C. Circuit Court.

Our federal courts hear cases on many issues, including Social Security benefits, the environment, immigration, employment issues and civil liberties–all of which impact Iowans. Every day a vacancy goes unfilled, peoples lives are affected. While qualified judges are being obstructed in the Senate, courts around the country are facing judicial emergencies that make it harder for ordinary Americans to have access to the courts and to justice. These vacancies are a threat to justice everywhere as cases are stalled, decisions are delayed, and sitting judges are overwhelmed.

The Iowa Fair Courts Coalition includes: One Iowa, Americans for Democratic Action, Working Families Win, the Iowa Citizen Action Network, and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).

Jane Kelly:  Nominee for the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

Jane Kelly has been an Assistant Federal Public Defender in the Northern District of Iowa since 1994, serving as the Supervising Attorney in the Cedar Rapids office since 1999.

Kelly was born and raised in Greencastle, Indiana. She received her B.A. summa cum laude in 1987 from Duke University and her J.D. cum laude in 1991 from Harvard Law School. After graduating from law school, Kelly clerked for the Honorable Donald J. Porter of the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota.  Subsequently, she also clerked for the Honorable David R. Hansen on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.  Prior to becoming an Assistant Federal Public Defender, Kelly worked briefly as a visiting instructor at the University of Illinois College of Law.  Since joining the Federal Public Defenders Office, Kelly has argued numerous federal appellate cases, tried 14 cases to verdict in federal court, and argued countless motions.  In 2004, she received the John Adams Award from the Iowa Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, which is given annually to an Iowa attorney who has dedicated his or her career to defending the indigent.