Barbara Milano Keenan
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Barbara Milano Keenan

Barbara Milano Keenan (born March 1, 1950) is a United States Circuit Judge of United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and a former justice on the Supreme Court of Virginia.

Early life and education

Keenan was born in Vienna, Austria, where her father, a highly decorated World War II veteran, was serving as chief of intelligence operations after the war.[1] She was raised in Northern Virginia. Keenan received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell University in 1971 and her Juris Doctor from George Washington University Law School in 1974.[2] She also earned a Master of Laws degree from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1992.[2][3]

Professional career

From 1974 to 1976, Keenan was an assistant commonwealth's attorney for Fairfax County, Virginia, before entering private practice, first as a solo practitioner and then as partner in the firm Keenan, Ardis and Roehrenbeck.[2] In 1980, she was made a judge of the General District Court of Fairfax County, and two years later became the first woman to be elected to a Circuit Court judgeship by the Virginia General Assembly. In 1985, she was elected as one of the first ten judges of the newly created Court of Appeals of Virginia, making her the first woman to serve as a state appellate court judge in Virginia.[2] She is the first woman to serve on all levels of the Virginia court system.[4] In 2011, she wrote the foreword to the first volume of Jurist Prudent, the collected opinions of her former Supreme Court of Virginia colleague Sr. Justice Lawrence L. Koontz, Jr.[5][3]

Service on the Supreme Court of Virginia

In 1991 Keenan was elected to be a Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia, succeeding Justice Charles S. Russell.[2] She was reelected in 2003 to a second 12-year term on the Court. She is the only Virginia jurist to serve at every level of Virginia's judicial system (District, Circuit, Court of Appeals, and Supreme Court). Sr. Justices Lawrence L. Koontz, Jr. and Leroy F. Millette, Jr. and Justice Cleo Powell have also served at every level of the state's court system. She joins Judge G. Steven Agee of that court as the second Virginia Supreme Court Justice (and former Virginia Court of Appeals judge) to advance to the federal appellate bench in recent times.[3]

Federal judicial service

In 2009, Keenan asked to be considered for a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The Virginia Bar Association included her name on the list of candidates it submitted to Virginia's two senators on February 24, 2009. On June 2, 2009, Virginia's senators recommended that President Barack Obama nominate her to the Fourth Circuit.[6] On September 14, 2009, Obama formally nominated Keenan to the Fourth Circuit,[2] and the Senate Judiciary Committee backed her nomination.[7] On February 26, 2010, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed for cloture on Keenan's nomination. The Senate voted 99-0 for cloture on the nomination on March 2, 2010.[8] The Senate then voted 99-0 to confirm Keenan on March 2, 2010.[9] She received her commission on March 9, 2010.[3]

See also


  1. ^ Tom Jackman, Va. Judge Nominated For Appeals Court The Washington Post (September 15, 2009).
  2. ^ a b c d e f President Obama Nominates Justice Barbara Milano Keenan for United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, (September 14, 2009).
  3. ^ a b c d "Keenan, Barbara Milano - Federal Judicial Center".
  4. ^ "Judge Milano Keenan Nominee to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 14, 2010. Retrieved 2010.
  5. ^ Lawrence L. Koontz, Jr. (2011), Jurist Prudent -- The Judicial Opinions of Lawrence L. Koontz, Jr., Volume 1, Salem, Virginia, USA: Salem/Roanoke County Bar Association
  6. ^ Alan Cooper, Senators recommend Justice Keenan Archived October 3, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, The VLW Blog (June 2, 2009).
  7. ^ David Ingram, 4th Circuit Nominee Gets Committee Backing, The Blog of Legal Times (October 29, 2009).
  8. ^ U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 111th Congress - 2nd Session, Vote Number 29: Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Nomination of Barbara Milano Keenan, (March 2, 2010).
  9. ^ U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 111th Congress - 2nd Session, Vote Number 30: Confirmation Barbara Milano Keenan, (March 2, 2010).

External links

Legal offices
Preceded by
Charles S. Russell

Succeeded by
Bill Mims
Preceded by
Hiram Emory Widener Jr.


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