President Barack Obama has nominated an assistant federal public defender in Iowa and the Wyoming attorney general to become federal circuit court judges, the White House announced today.
Gregory Phillips, the Wyoming attorney general since March 2011, was nominated to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Phillips was an assistant U.S. attorney in Wyoming for eight years before the state's governor selected him to be attorney general. Phillips has argued 19 cases before the Tenth Circuit, and previously worked in private practice, the White House said.
Jane Kelly, an assistant federal public defender in the Northern District of Iowa since 1994, was nominated to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. She has argued numerous appellate cases and motions, and tried 14 cases to a verdict in federal court, the White House said.
Prior to joining the public defender's office, she worked briefly as a visiting instructor at the University of Illinois College of Law. In 2004, she received the John Adams Award from the Iowa Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, which is given annually to an Iowa attorney who has dedicated his or her career to defending the indigent.
In a press statement, Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) said that Kelly has a reputation as an extremely talented lawyer with a great sense of compassion and fairness. "Jane Kelly has spent her career working on behalf of the most underprivileged in society and has fought tirelessly to ensure the rights of all Iowans are protected," Harkin said.