Jane L. Kelly

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Jane Louise Kelly
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
Assumed office
April 25, 2013
Appointed byBarack Obama
Preceded byMichael Joseph Melloy
Personal details
Jane Louise Kelly

(1964-10-28) October 28, 1964 (age 54)
Greencastle, Indiana
EducationDuke University (B.A.)
Harvard University (J.D.)

Jane Louise Kelly (born October 28, 1964) is a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Early life and education[edit]

Kelly was born in 1964 in Greencastle, Indiana[1] to Richard and Judith C. Kelly.[2] She was raised in Greencastle and graduated from Greencastle High School in 1983 as co-valedictorian.[2] She received a Bachelor of Arts degree, summa cum laude, in 1987, from Duke University, and a Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Harvard Law School, in 1991.[2] She studied pediatrics for one year in New Zealand under a Fulbright Scholarship in between Duke and Harvard.[3] Her graduating class included Barack Obama, who became the 44th president of the United States.[2]

Legal career[edit]

After graduation, Kelly was a law clerk to Donald J. Porter, chief judge of the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.[4] She then clerked for David R. Hansen, a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.[4] During the 1993–94 academic year, Kelly taught as a visiting instructor at the University of Illinois College of Law.[4][5][1]

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.[6][7][1]

Federal judicial service[edit]

On January 31, 2013, President Barack Obama nominated Kelly to serve as a United States Circuit Judge of 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.[6] 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.[8] She received her commission on April 25, 2013.[1]

In March 2016, Kelly was reported as a potential nominee for the Supreme Court to replace the vacancy caused by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.[9][10]

In July 2017, Kelly dissented when the en banc Eighth Circuit found, by a vote of 7-2, that the National Labor Relations Act did not protect Jimmy John's employees from being fired for putting up Industrial Workers of the World posters seeking sick leave.[11]

Personal life[edit]

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][12]


  1. ^ a b c d "Kelly, Jane Louise". History of the Federal Judiciary. Federal Judicial Center.
  2. ^ a b c d Bernsee, Eric (February 15, 2016). "Greencastle native in line to be Justice Scalia successor?". Banner Graphic. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  3. ^ Hopson, Thomas (March 7, 2016). "Potential nominee: Judge Jane Kelly, former public defender". SCOTUSblog. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Lynch, James Q. (January 31, 2013). "Cedar Rapids attorney Jane Kelly nominated to federal appeals court". The Gazette.
  5. ^ "Jane Kelly Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit". Bloomberg Business. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  6. ^ a b "President Obama Nominates Two to Serve on the US Court of Appeals". White House Office of the Press Secretary. January 31, 2013.
  7. ^ "Senate Judiciary Committee Nomination Questionnaire" (PDF).
  8. ^ "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 113th Congress - 1st Session". United States Senate.
  9. ^ a b 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. ^ Note, Recent Case: Eighth Circuit Holds Employee Organizing Activity Unprotected for Disloyalty Despite Lack of “Malicious Motive”, 131 Harv. L. Rev. 1820 (2018).
  12. ^ "Public defender attacked while jogging in C.R.", The Courier (June 30, 2004).

External links[edit]

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