North Carolina Court of Appeals Judge Jim Wynn and Superior Court Judge Albert Diaz, of Charlotte, have been nominated by President Barack Obama for the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit.
"Their distinguished judicial careers leave no doubt that they will be esteemed additions to the Fourth Circuit," Obama said in a prepared statement.
Wynn, of Cary, was nominated to the 4th Circuit in 1999 by President Bill Clinton but then-U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms blocked his confirmation. Wynn is a former Navy lawyer and remains a military trial judge. He has been on the state appeals court since 1990, except for 1998 when he was appointed to the state supreme court but lost the election that year to retain the seat.
Diaz, a former Marine Corps lawyer and the first Latino named to a superior court bench, would be the 4th Circuit's first Hispanic judge.
Their confirmation would end a 15-year impasse over one of the vacancies on the court, which hears federal cases from the Carolinas, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland.
The federal appeals courts are often the last stop for many cases, since the U.S. Supreme Court takes so few.