Press Releases

Statement on White House Nomination of Justice Barbara Keenan for Federal Appeals Court Vacancy

~Nomination Follows Sens. Webb, Warner's Recommendation of Keenan for Fourth Circuit Seat~

Sep 14 2009

Washington, DC - U.S. Senators 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 Senators 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 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. Senator Warner and I jointly recommended based on her exceptional qualifications and comprehensive legal experience in the Commonwealth,” said Senator 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,” Senator 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 4th Circuit bench.”

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.