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Keenan nominated to Fourth Circuit slot

U.S. Sen. Jim Webb and Mark R. Warner today applauded President Obama’s nomination of Virginia Supreme Court Justice Barbara Keenan to serve as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Recommended by Sens. Webb and Warner on June 2, 2009, Keenan would be the first female judge from Virginia to serve on the federal appeals court. 

“I’m pleased that President Obama nominated Justice Barbara Keenan to serve on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Sen. Warner and I jointly recommended based on her exceptional qualifications and comprehensive legal experience in the Commonwealth,” said Sen. Webb. “An experienced jurist, Justice Keenan has a noteworthy record of service that has been lauded by the leading bar associations. I look forward to her confirmation hearing and what she will bring to the bench in this new capacity if confirmed.

“Senators Webb and I are prepared to work with the White House and our colleagues in the Senate to get Justice Keenan confirmed to the federal appeals court in Richmond,” Sen. Warner said. “Throughout her distinguished career in Virginia’s court system, Justice Keenan has broken-down barriers, and legal experts and bar associations offer their strongest recommendations for her nomination, confirmation and appointment to the Fourth Circuit bench.”

Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine also offered his prasie for the selection.

“Justice Barbara Keenan is the ideal combination of intellect and judicial temperament. With her impeccable credentials and experience in multiple Virginia courts, Justice Keenan is well-suited for a judgeship in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. In nearly three decades on the bench, Justice Keenan has earned the respect of her colleagues and the broader legal community for her balanced and thoughtful judgment in cases both clear and complicated,” Kaine said.

“I have personally known Justice Keenan to be a balanced and thorough arbiter—her nomination today is good news for Virginia and good news for this important court. I am confident she will continue to wield justice fairly and equitably as a Fourth Circuit judge,” Kaine said.

Justice Keenan, 59, has served as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia since 1991. Prior to that, Keenan served as a judge on the General District and Circuit courts of Fairfax County and the Virginia Court of Appeals. She was the first woman appointed to the bench in Virginia, and one of the initial ten appointees to the Virginia Court of Appeals following its creation in 1985. Earlier in her career, she worked as an assistance prosecutor in Fairfax and briefly worked as an attorney in private practice.

Senators Webb and Warner worked together to conduct an open, extensive search to identify highly qualified Virginians for the vacancy. The senators solicited recommendations from the leading Virginia bar associations and conducted personal interviews with several potential candidates.

The Fourth U.S. Circuit serves the states of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and South Carolina. Since 1990, federal law has authorized fifteen judgeships for the Fourth Circuit, and jurists from Virginia have traditionally held four of these seats.

Keenan is a 1971 graduate of Cornell University, a 1974 graduate of The George Washington University Law School, and she earned a Master’s degree in law from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1992. She and her husband reside in Alexandria.


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