The Senate Judiciary Committee today gave its blessing to Barbara Keenan, nominated for a vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit.
Keenan, a justice on the Virginia Supreme Court, is President Barack Obama's second nominee for the Richmond-based appeals court. The other nominee, Judge Andre Davis of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, has been waiting for a vote in the full Senate since June 4.
Five of the 15 seats on the 4th Circuit are vacant, giving Obama the chance to remake a court that has historically been among the most conservative in the nation.
Keenan faced no opposition today, and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the committee’s top Republican, called her a “fine nominee.” She has been a judge at every level of Virginia’s state court system. She became the first woman elected to a judgeship in Virginia when she won a district court seat in Fairfax County in 1980.
The committee also backed two nominees for U.S. attorney positions: Carmen Milagros Ortiz for the District of Massachusetts and Edward Tarver for the Southern District of Georgia. Neither faced opposition.