White House bet federal court judge from Iowa could break the Supreme Court nomination deadlock with Republicans
Mar 02, 2016 10:16 PM EST
President Barack Obama is considering Iowa federal judge Jane L. Kelly as a potential nominee for the Supreme Court post vacated by the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Kelly is perceived as the ideal nominee that could break the nomination deadlock forged by Republican Senate leaders.
According to a source familiar with the nomination process, via the New York Times, the FBI has been conducting background interviews on Judge Kelly.
While much of the Obama's search for a nominee is kept in secret, he is expected to make his decision in the next few weeks. Despite strong opposition from the Republican party, Obama is adamant to fill up the Supreme Court opening in a historic decision that would reshape the high court.
Judge Jane Kelly is a federal appeals court judge in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She was confirmed for the seat on the Eight Circuit by the Senate in 2013, with a landslide vote of 96-0. Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, who has vowed to strike down any nomination made by President Barack Obama, spoke highly of Kelly in 2013, saying she is "well regarded in my home state of Iowa." Grassley went on to describe Kelly as a "forthright woman of high integrity and honest character" with "exceptionally keen intellect."
Sen. Chuck Grassley and the other Republicans in the Senate are firmly holding on to their pledge of not taking action on any Supreme Court nomination until after the November election has concluded. They contend that the nomination should be left to Obama's successor.
Grassley particularly emphasized that while she praises Kelly, it will have no bearing on his current stand on the nomination.
"I supported her for the 8th Circuit, but as I've said it's the principle not the person," Grassley said, as quoted by Bloomberg.
According to the Daily Mail, 51-year-old Kelly is a former classmate of the president, and is one of the front-runners of the nomination, together with judges Patricia Millett, Merrick Garland and Sri Srinivasan.
Should her nomination push through, she will be the third justice appointed by Obama to the Supreme Court, following Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. She would also become the only criminal attorney on the high court.
Democrats argue that leaving the Supreme Court vacant until Election Day is an infringement of the Constitution. Obama's move to pursue a nomination finds support in former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who said Obama, as president, is entitled to name a replacement for the late Justice Scalia.