Her nomination could intensify pressure on Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa and the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, to break with his party and hold hearings on Mr. Obama’s Supreme Court candidate. In a Senate floor speech in 2013, Mr. Grassley effusively praised Judge Kelly, who has spent her career in Iowa and is well regarded in legal circles there. He quoted from a letter from retired Judge David R. Hansen, a Republican appointee, who called her a “forthright woman of high integrity and honest character” and a person of “exceptionally keen intellect” before voting to confirm her for the appeals court post.And this is striking:
Five years into her tenure [in the federal public defender’s office for the Northern District of Iowa], she was nearly killed in a brutal attack while jogging on a popular trail in a Cedar Rapids park. Discovered by passers-by lying facedown in a pool of blood, she spent several months recovering and endured multiple surgeries. The crime was never solved, although there was speculation it might have been connected to her work. Still, Judge Kelly later told The Des Moines Register that she had no doubt about returning to her job as a criminal defense lawyer, which she did immediately after recovering from the assault.