This blog has previously discussed the difficulty of delivering justice to this region, in light of five openings (out of 15) on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Two nominees have been given the green light by the Senate committee, but await full votes by the Senate. The Senate, of course, has the constitutional role of advising and consenting to judicial appointments. This role gives it the power to hold up appointments. The dusty seat reserved for Judge Andre M. Davis has been vacant more than ten years.
Well, at least President Obama is doing his part. Yesterday he nominated two North Carolina judges to the Fourth Circuit. President Clinton had earlier tapped Judge James Wynn Jr. of the North Carolina Court of Appeals; Judge Davis had the same experience of having his nomination die after a Republican took the White House. Judge Wynn is also African-American. The Fourth Circuit’s geographical region has a high population of African-Americans, so adding to the diversity of the Court would be fair and add to its perceived legitimacy. The other nominee, Judge Albert Diaz, is Hispanic. There are no current Hispanic members of the Court. More to the point for my clients, Judge Diaz has been working as a special trial judge for complex business cases. Often judges are chosen from the ranks of former prosecutors, and therefore their civil experience is meager.