After Five Months, Senators Unanimously Confirm Fourth Circuit Nominee

March 2, 2010

Since her nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit 169 days ago, and 124 days after the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously reported her nomination to the floor, Justice Barbara Keenan saw the Senate unanimously end the anonymous hold on her nomination. This afternoon, the Senate voted 99-0 for cloture on Keenan's nomination, then promptly confirmed her 99-0.

The vote on Keenan's nomination came after Judiciary Committee Chair Sen. Patrick Leahy issued a statement calling for up-or-down votes on noncontroversial judicial nominees. In his statement, Leahy lists the 13 nominations pending before the full Senate, including seven that were unimously reported out of committee, and nine that were initially nominated over three months ago. The vote also followed a joint-statement by Sens. Jim Webb and Mark Warner demanding a "prompt vote" on the nomination of Justice Keenan, their fellow Virginian.

Keenan served on the Supreme Court of Virginia since 1991. She was recommended for the Fourth Circuit by Sens. Warner and Webb on June 2, 2009, and nominated by President Barack Obama on September 14, 2009.

The Fourth Circuit, which The Washington Post calls "an influential court on national security cases," still has four vacancies. The president also nominated to the court Judge Andre Davis, who was confirmed in November, and jurists James Wynn and Albert Diaz, whose nominations have been pending in the Senate for almost three months.

[Image via Sen. Mark Warner.]