Albert Diaz (judge)
|Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit|
Assumed office |
December 22, 2010
|Appointed by||Barack Obama|
|Preceded by||William Walter Wilkins|
1960 (age 57–58)|
New York City, New York
University of Pennsylvania (B.S.)|
New York University School of Law (J.D.)
Boston University (M.S.)
Albert Diaz (born 1960) is a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Diaz is the first Hispanic judge to serve on the Fourth Circuit. Prior to his appointment to the Court of Appeals, Diaz was a North Carolina state superior court judge and an Appellate Judge for the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals.
Early life and education
Raised in Brooklyn as the son of divorced Puerto Rican parents, Diaz and his two brothers were raised by his mother. After graduating high school, he enlisted in the Marines. Diaz earned a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1983 and earned a Juris Doctor from New York University School of Law in 1988. Diaz earned a Master of Science degree from Boston University, in 1993. Diaz also served with the Marines from 1988-1995 as a Judge Advocate, retiring as a Lt. Colonel, USMCR.
While in the Marines, Diaz served as a prosecutor, defense lawyer and judge. He left the service in 1995 for private practice, becoming an associate with the law firm of Hunton & Williams and represented Philip Morris USA during tobacco lawsuits in the late 1990s. From 2000-05, he served as a Military Judge for the U.S. Navy-Marine Corps Trial Judiciary and as an Appellate Judge for the U.S. Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals.
Work as a judge in North Carolina
In 2001, then-North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley appointed Diaz to the North Carolina Superior Court, making Diaz the first Hispanic ever to be a state judge in North Carolina. The following year, Diaz lost a bid for election. However, Easley again appointed Diaz to the Superior Court. Then, in 2005, the North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice appointed Diaz to be Charlotte, North Carolina's first ever Business Court judge, one of just three in the state.
Federal judicial service
On November 4, 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Diaz to be a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, to replace Judge William Walter Wilkins, who had taken senior status in July 2007 and later retired. Diaz was nominated to the seat to which Steve A. Matthews previously had been nominated by President George W. Bush.
The nomination, made along with that of fellow North Carolina nominee James A. Wynn, Jr., was jointly endorsed by North Carolina senators Kay Hagan, a Democrat, and Richard Burr, a Republican. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 19-0 on January 28, 2010 to send his nomination to the Senate floor.
A combination of secret holds and the threat of filibuster by Republicans caused Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid not to bring Diaz's confirmation to a vote for nearly eleven months. On December 18, 2010, the Senate confirmed Diaz by voice vote. He received his commission on December 22, 2010.
Judiciary Committee hearing
Diaz received a unanimous vote from the Senate Judiciary Committee to forward his nomination to the full Senate. He had a hearing before the Committee on December 16, 2009. He was heard along with fellow nominee James Wynn by just three of the Committee members. When asked about his judicial philosophy, Diaz said: "We're not simply dealing with an academic exercise, but we're affecting people's lives in each and every case". They reported him to the Senate on January 28, 2010 and the Senate confirmed his nomination on December 18, 2010.
Awards and Associations
- Vice-President of the North Carolina Bar Association
- Member, ABA Judicial Division
- Member of the NCBA Hispanic-Latino Lawyers Committee
- Member of the NCBA Minorities in the Profession Committee
- Member of the Hispanic National Bar Association
- Member of the Continuing Judicial Education Committee, North Carolina Conference of Superior Court Judges
- Member of the American College of Business Court Judges
- Member of the Mecklenburg County Bar Nominating Committee
- Member of the Special Committee on Diversity
- Secretary, Chief Justice William H. Bobbitt Inn of Court 
- Wright, Gary L.; Jim Morrill (October 9, 2009). "White House evaluates Diaz for 4th Circuit Court". Charlotte Observer. p. 1A. Retrieved 4 November 2009.[permanent dead link]
- President Obama Nominates Judge Albert Diaz and Judge James Wynn to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, whitehouse.gov (November 4, 2009).
- "North Carolina Court System Diaz Biography".
- "JUDGE ALBERTO DIAZ Nominee to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals" (PDF).
- "Diaz, Albert - Federal Judicial Center". www.fjc.gov.
- Diana Smith, North Carolina Lawyer's Weekly, reprinted in Virginia Lawyer's Weekly, November 9, 2009, Vol. 24, No. 23, p. 3.
- "News & Observer: Judges Diaz, Wynn get key Senate vote, head toward confirmation". newsobserver.com. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
- Jamelle Bouie (November 15, 2010). "The Vacancy Crisis". The American Prospect.
- "Senate Confirms Albert Diaz". senatus.wordpress.com. December 18, 2010.
- "Wynn, Diaz advance". news-record.com. January 28, 2010.
- "Senate Judiciary Committee Official Hearing Notice". judiciary.senate.gov.
- "N.C. judges get easy hearing in Senate". newsobserver.com. December 17, 2009.
- "N.C. judges show well at confirmation hearing". news-record.com. December 17, 2009.
- "Judicial Nomination Materials". judiciary.senate.gov. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
- Albert Diaz at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
- Albert Diaz at Ballotpedia
- Diaz's Public Questionnaire Available Here
- Questions for the Record Available Here
William Walter Wilkins
| Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit