UPDATES & ANALYSIS

12.17

U.S. Senate confirms Iowa native for seat on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals

by Rox Laird | December 17, 2018

President Donald Trump’s appointment of Sioux City native Jonathan Kobes to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit was confirmed by the U.S. Senate Dec. 11. The vote was split 50-50 with Vice President Mike Pence supplying the tie-breaking vote.

Kobes will replace Judge Roger Wollman, who has taken senior status. Wollman, who was appointed to the Eighth Circuit in 1985 by President Ronald Reagan, turned 84 this year.

Kobes, 44, graduated from Dordt College in Sioux Center in 1996, Harvard Law School in 2000 and clerked for Judge Wollman after graduation.

Kobes has had a varied legal career: He worked for the Central Intelligence Agency in Washington, D.C., for the U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota and the Sioux Falls office of Murphy, Goldammer and Prendergast where he was a litigation associate.

Until his appointment to the appeals court, Kobes served as general counsel to U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota.

Prior to joining Senator Rounds’ staff, Kobes was counsel for the Sioux Falls, S.D., biofuels company POET, senior regulatory counsel for DuPont Pioneer and then director of corporate compliance for Raven Industries.

Kobes will be President Trump’s fourth appointment to the 11-member Eighth Circuit, following David Stras of Minnesota, Ralph Erickson of North Dakota, and Steven Grasz of Nebraska.

The president could fill at least two more seats on the Eighth Circuit. Judges James Loken of Minnesota and Duane Benton of Missouri are eligible to take senior status.

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