White House Is Said to Be Vetting Iowa Judge for Supreme Court Seat
WASHINGTON — President Obama is vetting Jane L. Kelly, a federal appellate judge in Iowa, as a potential nominee for the Supreme Court, weighing a selection that could pose an awkward dilemma for her home-state senator Charles E. Grassley, who has pledged to block the president from filling the vacancy.
The F.B.I. has been conducting background interviews on Judge Kelly, 51, according to a person with knowledge of the process. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the White House is closely guarding details about Mr. Obama’s search to fill the opening created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
The president is expected to make his selection in the next couple of weeks, a decision that could reshape the court for decades but faces heated opposition from Republicans in Congress.
Mr. Grassley is at the center of that fight as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, a post in which he alone can decide whether to hold confirmation hearings on a nominee. Like the panel’s other Republicans, he has vowed not to take any action until after the November election, arguing that the choice should be left to the next president.
In a Senate floor speech in 2013, Mr. Grassley effusively praised Judge Kelly, a longtime public defender, just before she won unanimous confirmation to her current position on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
The senator read from a handwritten recommendation letter he had received from a retired judge, David R. Hansen, a Republican appointee he counted as an old friend. Mr. Hansen called Judge Kelly a “forthright woman of high integrity and honest character” and a person of “exceptionally keen intellect.”
I assume she is wrong on abortion, marriage, &c but she was a Federal public defender and I like the idea of a Justice with actual trial experience. Right now the only one with courtroom experience (as a prosecutor) is Sotomayor and she was the first in a long time. IIRC the last one before her was Hugo Black who was a city court judge in Alabama.
Another name I’ve seen mentioned is Sri Srivanasan [sp?] who also has defense experience though his most famous defendant is Enron.