• Latest on Obama’s Scotus Search
  • March 18, 2016
  • Law Firm: McDonald Hopkins LLC - Cleveland Office
  • According to press reports, the White House is vetting Jane Kelly to replace recently deceased Justice Antonin Scalia. Kelly, 51, is a career public defender turned federal appellate judge.

    Just three years ago, Judge Kelly won quick and unanimous confirmation by the Senate to her current post on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. The nomination may be intended to put pressure on Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who praised Kelly in a speech on the Senate floor in 2013 during the consideration of her nomination to the Court of Appeals.

    Senator Grassley, along with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), have pledged to not hold hearings or have a vote on any Obama nomination to the Supreme Court. They, and other Republicans, argue that the pick should be left to the next President.

    Some Democrats believe that selecting a nominee like Kelly might force Grassley to change his position and hold hearings after all, especially considering that Judge Kelly hails from his home state of Iowa.

    Judge Kelly's name surfaced as a potential pick early after the death of Scalia.

    As of this week, the Obama administration has said that they have reached out to all 100 Senators about filling the Scalia vacancy.

    It is expected that President Obama will make his pick in the next two weeks.

    Judge Kelly graduated in 1987 from Duke University, won a Fulbright Scholarship to study in New Zealand, and attended Harvard Law School.

    After law school, she clerked for a District Court Judge in South Dakota. After taking a job in the public defender's offices, she was almost killed after being attacked while jogging in Cedar Rapids. The assailant was never found.