President Barack Obama on Wednesday nominated two state judges from North Carolina to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, taking a big step toward filling vacancies on the depleted appellate court.

One nominee, Judge James Wynn Jr. of the North Carolina Court of Appeals, was also a choice of President Bill Clinton, but then-Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., blocked Wynn’s nomination. The other nominee, Judge Albert Diaz, is a special trial judge for complex business cases. Both Diaz and Wynn have experience as reserve military judges.

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