Cassandra Newby-Alexander: But you could have applied for a job at a law firm. Why at the Justice Department?
Barbara Milano Keenan: Well I’ve always been drawn to public service. It always impressed me that my dad got ahead in the military. We had a sense growing up, maybe being a little different being Italian. People called us Italian. We were very American, we didn’t think of ourselves as that, but people called us Italian. We always saw government service as kind of a great equalizer, I think. Maybe that was part of it. I was also drawn to I think the civil rights component of what Justice had done, and reading about it. So it was just a lot of little things, no great impelling force, but the idea of a law firm didn’t really interest me. . . .
Cassandra Newby Alexander: What were your experiences like, because being the first woman means that you’re going into a man’s world and there are expectations that they have for the prosecutor that they’re going to see, so what were your experiences like?
Barbara Milano Keenan: Really very good, with some amazing few very bad, okay. Almost all very good. The judges were fabulous. They just welcomed me, and I was an oddity, you know. There just hadn’t been any women prosecutors and there really weren’t very many women trial lawyers, maybe two in Fairfax County. One of them did only domestic work. There just weren’t women lawyers around then. It’s hard to believe now. But the judges were great. I mean they were just so welcoming and one judge, Arthur Sinclair, who was the chief judge of the Fairfax Circuit Court, he had two daughters my age and I think that made a difference, maybe, for him. But every single one of the judges was great, never treated me any differently. Actually one of them did.