Politics & Government

N.C. Judge Diaz may be closer to Senate confirmation for federal court

Of all the judicial nominees awaiting confirmation by the U.S. Senate, none has waited longer than Charlotte, N.C.'s Albert Diaz. Now supporters hope the wait is about to end.

Diaz, who would be the first Hispanic judge on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, is among the nominees the U.S. Senate could consider before its expected recess this week.

It was in January that the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously endorsed him for the post. None of the 22 other judicial nominees endorsed by the committee has waited as long.

If not confirmed by the end of the current Congress in January, their nominations expire.

The Senate could vote before it adjourns until after the election. Former N.C. Judge James Wynn, nominated to the federal appeals court with Diaz in 2009, was confirmed on the eve of an August recess.

"My guess is that something similar could happen and if it does, then the obvious choice is Diaz," said Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond law professor who follows the court. "He has waited the longest and had a 19-0 committee vote. He's an excellent candidate and there's nothing controversial about him."

But Diaz, currently a special Superior Court Judge for the N.C. Business Court, could get caught up in other controversies.

Both Republican Sen. Richard Burr and Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan say they support his confirmation. At least three Democratic attempts to get him confirmed fell through when a single Republican objected.

To read the complete article, visit www.charlotteobserver.com.

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