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Biden taps Heytens for 4th Circuit

Toby J. Heytens

Toby J. Heytens

President Joe Biden has nominated Virginia Solicitor General Toby J. Heytens to a seat on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Upon confirmation, Heytens would fill the seat of Judge Barbara Milano Keenan, who will take senior status in August.

Biden also made nominations June 30 to two open district judgeships in Virginia’s Eastern District: Patricia Tolliver Giles, managing assistant U.S. Attorney in the district and U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael S. Nachmanoff.

They would fill seats previously held by U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady, who took senior status May 1, and U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga, who took senior status June 1.

All the nominations now go to the U.S. Senate for confirmation.

The White House said in a release that Biden “continues to move at an unparalleled speed with respect to judicial nominations” since taking office in January. The eight nominations made on June 30 bring the total number of the president’s federal nominations to 32.

Virginia two Democratic senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, lauded Biden’s nominees.

“We are pleased that the President has nominated Mr. Heytens, Ms. Giles, and Judge Nachmanoff to fill these vacancies,” said the senators in a release. “Based on their fairness, temperament, and integrity, we believe they will all serve Virginia and the country with distinction. We hope our colleagues will join us to support these well-qualified nominees.”


Heytens has been Solicitor General since 2018. Prior to that position, he was a law professor at the University of Virginia law school. He worked in the Justice Department and for O’Melveny & Myers in Washington in the late 2000s.

After getting his law degree from U.Va. in 2000, he clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.


The White House noted that Giles, if confirmed, would be the second woman of color to ever serve on the federal bench in Virginia, following U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen.

Giles has served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District since 2003, and currently serves as nanaging assistant U.S. Attorney. She previously served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Major Crimes Unit from 2003 to 2019. She also serves on the Attorney General’s Transnational Organized Crime Task Force, MS-13 Subcommittee.

Before entering government service, Giles practiced with Cooley Godward LLP, handling a variety of commercial cases. She clerked for U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee after earning her law degree from U.Va. in 1998.


Nachmanoff has served as a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the Eastern District since 2015. He spent 13 years in the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Eastern District, serving as Chief Federal Public Defender from 2007 to 2015. He practiced with Cohen, Gettings & Dunham PC in Alexandria before going to the federal PD’s office. He clerked for U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema after earning his law degree from U.Va. in 1995.