Press Releases

Webb, Warner Recommend Justice Barbara Keenan for Fed. Appeals Court Vacancy

~ If confirmed, first woman from Va. to sit on 4th U.S. Circuit Court bench ~

Jun 02 2009


Washington, DC -- U.S. Senators Jim Webb and Mark R. Warner today recommended that President Obama nominate Virginia Supreme Court Justice Barbara M. Keenan to serve as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. If nominated by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Keenan would be the first female judge from Virginia to serve on the federal appeals court.

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 assistant 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.

“Senator Warner and I jointly recommended Justice Barbara Keenan to serve on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals based on her exceptional qualifications and comprehensive legal experience in the Commonwealth,” said Senator Webb. “Justice Keenan has received the highest ratings from leading bar associations, and I know that, if confirmed, she will continue her distinguished record of service in this new capacity.”    

“Justice Keenan has served with distinction at every level of state court in Virginia,” Senator Warner said. “She is extremely qualified, and I strongly support her appointment to the federal appellate bench.”

The Fourth U.S. Circuit serves the states of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and South Carolina.  Since 1990, federal law has authorized 15 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 of Laws degree from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1992.  She and her husband reside in Alexandria.