Fairfax County legislators have unanimously endorsed Barbara M. Keenan, 31, a judge on the county's General District Court, to become the first woman to serve on Virginia's Circuit Court.
Keenan was chosen for the Circuit Court bench to replace James C. Cacheris, who resigned in December to become a U.S. District Court judge in Alexandria.
The Fairfax delegation also picked Alexandria attorney Quinlan H. Hancock, 55, and Johanna L. Fitzpatrick, 35, a Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court judge, as candidates for two Circuit Court judgeships in Fairfax expected to be created by the General Assembly this year.
"I am tremendously pleased," said Sen. Adelard Brault (D-Fairfax), who has actively sought to put a woman on the Circuit Court bench. All 113 of the state's Circuit Court judges are men. "It's something I've been building up to for three years," he said.
Agreement among the 17 members of the Fairfax delegation virtually assures the election of all three candidates by the legislature. The selection was made by Democrats and Republicans who recently interviewed eight finalists and ranked their preferences.
The highest ranking went to Hancock, a former FBI agent who also was voted "best qualified" by the Fairfax County Bar Association.