A panel of lawyers picked by Gov. Chris Christie to vet his two Supreme Court nominees has unanimously endorsed the picks.

The panel voted 7-0 to endorse Bruce A. Harris and Phillip H. Kwon, whose confirmation hearings are scheduled for Thursday.

Harris, who is black, would become New Jersey's first openly gay justice. Kwon would become its first Asian representative and the first justice born outside the United States.

The panel made its recommendation late last month. The governor's office announced it Tuesday afternoon.

Christie replaced the panel in 2010, after all seven members quit to protest the governor's failure to re-nominate Justice John Wallace. The governor has repeatedly complained about a court he says is too activist.

Kwon, a former Republican, is a registered independent. Harris is a Republican.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)