President Barack Obama has chosen Virginia Supreme Court Justice Barbara Keenan for one of five vacancies on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, the White House said today.
Keenan was the choice of the state’s two Democratic senators, Jim Webb and Mark Warner. She has been on Virginia’s highest court since 1991, after previously serving at every other level of the state’s judiciary. She was the first female judge elected in the state when she won a district court seat in Fairfax County in 1980, and she would be the first female judge from Virginia on the Richmond-based 4th Circuit.
In a statement, Obama cited her “long and distinguished record of service” and her “commitment to fairness and judicial integrity.”
Keenan (Cornell, George Washington Law) was a prosecutor in Fairfax County after law school. She then worked in private practice, first as a solo practitioner and then at Keenan, Ardis and Roehrenbeck, the White House said. She is 59.
She is Obama’s eighth nominee to the circuit courts and his second to the 4th Circuit, after U.S. District Judge Andre Davis of Maryland. The Senate has not confirmed any of the nominees. Keenan is the second not to be nominated from a federal district court, after 6th Circuit nominee Jane Stranch, a private practitioner in Nashville, Tenn.
Among the other names circulating for a Virginia-based nominee was Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld partner Patricia Millett, who co-chairs the firm’s Supreme Court practice. Millett garnered support from bar associations in Virginia.