Jane L. Kelly

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Jane L. Kelly
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
Assumed office
April 25, 2013
Appointed by Barack Obama
Preceded by Michael Joseph Melloy
Personal details
Born Jane Louise Kelly
1964 (age 53–54)
Greencastle, Indiana, U.S.
Alma mater Duke University
Harvard Law School

Jane Louise Kelly (born 1964) is a United States Circuit judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Early life and education

Jane Louise Kelly was born in 1964, to Richard and Judith C. Kelly,[1] and was raised in Greencastle, Indiana. She received a bachelor of arts degree, summa cum laude, in 1987, from Duke University, and a J.D. degree, cum laude, from Harvard Law School, in 1991.[1] She studied pediatrics for one year in New Zealand under a Fulbright Scholarship in between Duke and Harvard.[2] Her graduating class included Barack Obama, who became the 44th president of the United States.[1]


After graduation, Kelly clerked for Donald J. Porter, chief judge of the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.[3] She then clerked for David R. Hansen, a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.[3] During the 1993–94 academic year, Kelly taught as a visiting instructor at the University of Illinois College of Law, while also working on a LL.M. degree,[citation needed] which she did not complete, at the same institution.[3][4]

Kelly became an assistant federal public defender in the Northern District of Iowa, in 1994 and served as the supervising attorney in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa office, from 1999 to 2013.[5][6]

Federal judicial service

On January 31, 2013, President Barack Obama nominated Kelly to serve as a United States circuit judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, to the seat vacated by Judge Michael Joseph Melloy, who took senior status, on February 1, 2013.[5] Her nomination was reported on a voice vote of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on March 22, 2013. The Senate confirmed Kelly, in a 96–0 vote, on April 24, 2013.[7] She received her commission, on April 25, 2013.[8]

In March 2016, Kelly was reported as a potential nominee for the Supreme Court to replace the late justice, Antonin Scalia.[9][10]

Personal life

In 2004, Kelly was attacked while jogging in a park in Cedar Rapids, brutally beaten and left barely conscious; her assailant was never identified.[9][11]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Bernsee, Eric (February 15, 2016). "Greencastle native in line to be Justice Scalia successor?". Banner Graphic. Retrieved March 2, 2016. 
  2. Hopson, Thomas (March 7, 2016). "Potential nominee: Judge Jane Kelly, former public defender". SCOTUSblog. Retrieved March 8, 2016. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Lynch, James Q. "Cedar Rapids attorney Jane Kelly nominated to federal appeals court". The Gazette. Retrieved 2 March 2016. 
  4. "Jane Kelly Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit". Bloomberg Business. Retrieved 2 March 2016. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "President Obama Nominates Two to Serve on the US Court of Appeals". whitehouse.gov. 
  6. Senate Judiciary Committee Nomination Questionnaire
  7. "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 113th Congress - 1st Session". United States Senate. US Government. Retrieved 2 March 2016. 
  8. "Judge Kelly". United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. US government. Retrieved 2 March 2016. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Hirschfield Davis, Julie. "White House Said to Be Vetting Iowa Judge for Supreme Court Seat". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 March 2016. 
  10. "Here are judges the White House is considering for the Supreme Court". Washington Post. March 7, 2016. 
  11. "Public defender attacked while jogging in C.R.", The Courier (June 30, 2004).

External links

Legal offices
Preceded by
Michael Melloy
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit