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Barbara Milano Keenan - CONFIRMED
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
On September 14, 2009, President Obama nominated Barbara Milano Keenan, a Justice on the Virginia Supreme Court, to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers the federal districts within Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
Nominations to the federal courts of appeal are significant for obvious reasons, but the Fourth Circuit is unique. The Court has heard a significant number of cases involving the scope of executive power. And, a large number of civil rights claims related to race, gender, and employment discrimination are litigated within its districts. Although the Court has long been considered a bastion of ultraconservatism, after a series of departures it is now more evenly split. Thus, single additions to the bench—including Judge Keenan’s—will very likely impact the Court’s overall jurisprudential leanings.