The final two nominees for open seats on the state’s federal court — assistant U.S. attorney Sarala Nagala and Superior Court Judge Omar Williams — appeared on track for appointment after receiving warm receptions Wednesday during questioning at the Senate Judiciary Committee, which opens the confirmation process.

Both were nominated for the lifetime appointments a month ago by President Joe Biden, who promised early in his administration that he is pressing to diversify the administration of federal justice by nominating judges “who reflect the best of America, and who look like America.”

If confirmed, which appeared likely Wednesday, Nagala would be the first federal judge appointed in Connecticut of Asian or south Asian background. Williams, whose confirmation also seems assured by the full Senate, was a state public defender for 11 years before being appointed to a state judgeship by former Gov. Dannel P. Malloy seven years ago.

“This was a smoothly orchestrated hearing with Sen. Blumenthal presiding and he and Sen. Murphy introducing the nominees in glowing terms for their diversity in terms of ethnicity, gender and experience,” said University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias, who tracks federal judicial nominations. “The nominees were very strong and gave clear, full answers to questions, few of which were were critical of them. One GOP Senator even said that Williams did well by receiving so few questions. Ms. Nagala’s responses all seem well received. My sense is that most members were pleased with the Connecticut nominees, so I expect strong committee votes and confirmation votes after the Labor Day Recess.”

Williams would be the fourth Black judge among the 12 active and semi-retired judges in the District of Connecticut. District judges are paid about $219,000 a year for life.

Biden nominated former federal public defender and current U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah A.L. Merriam to the third open seat. Her confirmation also seemed likely following her appearance before the judiciary committee earlier this month.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who chaired the committee hearing, praised what he called Biden’s diversity push while taking a shot at former President Donald Trump, who he accused of making “outcome-based” judicial nominations by appointing judges who shared an ideological bias.

“As someone who has spent basically his life, my life, in the courtroom as a litigator,” Blumenthal said he is gratified that the three Connecticut nominees — who he and Sen. Christopher Murphy recommended to the White House — are “individuals who like America and represent the values of diversity that we all prize.”

While in office, Trump nominated Superior Court Judge Barbara B. Jongbloed to the federal bench, also on the advice of Blumenthal and Murphy. The Senators did not recommend Jongbloed to Biden after her nomination expired as the result of partisan bickering in the Senate late in the Trump administration.

Blumenthal praised Nagala for work she has done on behalf of the U.S. Attorneys office, providing diversity training to police officers. He said Williams’ experience as a public defender will bring “under represented and much needed perspective to the federal bench in Connecticut.

“So his nomination is particularly important in this moment in our history,” Blumenthal said.

Murphy, who was invited to appear before the committee, added that jobs such as a waiter and house painter as a young man also have prepared Williams for a judgeship.

The two Connecticut nominees were asked few questions, pointed or otherwise. Ranking Republican Charles Grassley of Iowa indicated he might press Nagala on gun control when he asked her about a friend of the court brief supporting gun control that she was assigned to write as a junior associate at a San Francisco law firm early in her career

“Do you believe second amendment protects the right of gun ownership?” Grassley asked.

Nagala said she did, and that the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that position in a Washington, D.C. case in 2008.

Nagala, a graduate of Stanford University and the University of California School of Law, has spent almost all of her career as a federal prosecutor.

She was hired in 2012, during David Fein’s brief tenure as the state’s top federal prosecutor, and has been involved in or supervised complex criminal prosecutions since.

She began prosecuting child exploitation, identity theft and crimes involving fraud in government programs. In 2016 she was appointed Deputy Chief of the major crimes and national security unit and also coordinates human trafficking and hate crimes prosecutions.

Nagala also has lectured at Yale Law School.

Her husband is dean of a residential college at Yale and they live on campus with their family.

Before becoming a prosecutor, Nagala worked for three years for Munger, Tolles & Olson in San Francisco and, before that, clerked for Judge Susan P. Graber on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Williams graduated with honors from the University of Connecticut and its law school. He was appointed to the Superior Court in 2014 and, two years later, was named heard of the criminal courts in Hartford.