May 24, 2021

Warner & Kaine Recommend Three for Vacancy on U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine sent a letter to the White House recommending Judge Arenda Wright Allen, Judge Hannah Lauck, and Virginia Solicitor General Toby J. Heytens to fill the upcoming vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which will be created when Judge Barbara M. Keenan assumes senior status in August 2021. 

Judge Allen has been a U.S. District Court Judge in the Norfolk division of the Eastern District of Virginia since 2011. Judge Allen served in the Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia from 2005-2011 and served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in both the Eastern District of Virginia and the Western District of Virginia from 1990 to 2005. She also has a distinguished record of service in the Navy and has a lifelong commitment to diversity.  

Judge Lauck has been a U.S. District Court Judge in the Richmond division of the Eastern District of Virginia since 2014 and was previously a Magistrate Judge in the Eastern District—the first woman to be appointed to either position in Richmond. Prior to joining the bench, Judge Lauck served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney from 1994 to 2005. Judge Lauck served as a clerk to U.S. Judge Randolph Spencer of the Eastern District of Virginia. 

Mr. Heytens has been the Solicitor General of Virginia since 2018, representing the Commonwealth in state and federal courts, including three cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Prior to this role, Mr. Heytens was a professor at his alma mater, the University of Virginia School of Law, from 2010 to 2018. Mr. Heytens also served as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Chief Judge Edward R. Becker on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. 

“All three candidates possess the requisite fairness, temperament, and integrity to serve as a U.S. Court of Appeals Judge, and have our highest recommendation,” said the senators. “Ultimately, we believe each of these individuals would win confirmation from the Senate and serve capably on the bench.”

Warner and Kaine recommend these individuals based on their distinguished records and the assessments of an independent panel of attorneys from across the Commonwealth as well as feedback from bar associations in Virginia. 

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals is based in Richmond and hears federal appeals from Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, and South Carolina. President Biden will nominate one individual for the position, which is subject to confirmation by the full Senate. 

The full text of today’s letter appears here and below:

May 24, 2021

The Honorable Joseph R. Biden

President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20500

 

Dear Mr. President: 

We are pleased to recommend United States District Court Judge Arenda Wright Allen, United States District Court Judge Hannah Lauck, and Virginia Solicitor General Toby J. Heytens for the vacancy on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit following Judge Barbara M. Keenan’s decision to take senior status, effective August, 2021. All three candidates possess the requisite fairness, temperament, and integrity to serve as a U.S. Court of Appeals Judge, and have our highest recommendation. 

The Honorable Arenda Wright Allen is a United States District Court Judge in the Norfolk Division of the Eastern District of Virginia.  Prior to joining the bench in 2011, Judge Allen served in the Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia from 2005-2011. From 1990 to 2005, Judge Allen served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in both the Eastern District of Virginia and the Western District of Virginia.  Judge Allen also has an exemplary record of military service, serving as a Navy JAG Trial Attorney and Staff Judge Advocate from 1985-1990.  Judge Allen continued her service as a Commander in the United States Navy Reserves until she retired in 2005.

Judge Hannah Lauck has had an impressive legal career to date, and is currently serving as a United States District Court Judge in Richmond, Virginia.  Prior to becoming a United States District Court Judge, she served as a federal Magistrate Judge in the Eastern District of Virginia, from 2005 to 2014.  Additionally, she was the first woman District Court Judge and Magistrate Judge appointed in the Richmond Division for the Eastern District of Virginia.    

Toby Heytens is the Solicitor General of Virginia, a position he has held since 2018. As the Solicitor General, Mr. Heytens exclusively represents the Commonwealth, its officers, and its agencies. In the last three years he has represented the Commonwealth in federal and state courts, including three arguments before the Supreme Court of the United States, defense of the Commonwealth’s new firearms laws and the Governor’s COVID-19 related orders in trial courts and on appeal.  Prior to joining the Virginia Attorney General’s office, Heytens was a professor at his alma mater, the University of Virginia School of Law, from 2010 to 2018. 

Ultimately, we believe each of these individuals would win confirmation from the Senate and serve capably on the bench. We are honored to recommend them to you.

 

Sincerely,

 

Mark R. Warner                                                                    

United States Senator

Tim Kaine

United States Senator

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