WASHINGTON — Morgantown attorney Tom Kleeh has been confirmed as a federal judge for West Virginia's Northern District.
Kleeh, who previously worked in Steptoe & Johnson's labor and employment group, is replacing senior status judge Irene Keeley. He worked in the firm's Charleston office before moving to the Morgantown location.
“Since President Trump nominated Tom, I have been impressed by the amount of support he has received in all corners of West Virginia’s legal community,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, who – who along with Sen. Joe Manchin – recommended Kleeh for the position to President Donald Trump.
The U.S. Senate voted 65-30 Oct. 11 to confirm Kleeh.
“His nomination has also been praised by those who have been on the opposite side and practiced against him,” Capito said. “As one West Virginia Circuit Judge wrote, ‘The trial lawyers, the defense bar, the prosecutors, the public defenders, the public interest lawyers? They all love him.’ That widespread respect speaks volumes, I think, about Tom’s professionalism.”
Kleeh succeeds Irene Keely following 25 years on the bench as a District Judge in the District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia.
“I recommended Tom to President Trump because of his exceptional qualifications and his outstanding reputation," Capito said. "As I’ve said since he was first nominated, I have no doubt that Tom will be a fair, diligent, and effective judge on the U.S. District Court and will make West Virginians proud as he continues working to uphold the rule of law.
"I was proud to support his confirmation and look forward to working together as he assumes this important new role."
Kleeh previously served as staff counsel to the state Senate Judiciary Committee. Chairman Charles Trump praised Kleeh and his work ethic.
“Tom devoted countless hours — both during and outside of regular and interim sessions — working tirelessly to help us work on the legal reforms that our state so badly needed,” Trump said. “His temperament, judgment, maturity, and legal acumen have allowed Tom to work effectively and amicably with members of both the Republican and Democrat caucuses of the committee and the entire Senate.”
Capito also praised Keeley.
“I’d also like to thank Judge Keeley who has honorably served the Northern District for more than 25 years now," Capito said. "She has been an incredible example of what public service on the U.S. District Court should look like, and I know Tom will do the same.”
Kleeh earned his undergraduate and law degrees from West Virginia University. At the WVU College of Law, he was inducted into the Order of the Coif and served as editor-in-chief of the West Virginia Law Review. His wife Teresa is a law clerk for state Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret Workman.
Kleeh now awaits his judicial commission. The date he'll take the bench is undetermined.