Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, June 8, 2012


Page 1


Democrats Push for Vote on Ninth Circuit Nominee Hurwitz


By a MetNews Staff Writer


U.S. Senate Democrats yesterday filed a motion to end debate over the nomination of Andrew D. Hurwitz to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, setting up a Monday showdown with Republican opponents.

Hurwitz, vice chief justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, was nominated by President Obama last year to succeed Judge Mary Schroeder, who took senior status. He received a unanimous “well qualified” rating from the American Bar Association, and the nomination cleared the Judiciary Committee on a 13-5 vote.

All of the committee Democrats voted for him, as did Republicans Jon Kyl of Arizona, Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

Opposition to Hurwitz has centered on his onetime clerkship for Judge Jon Newman on the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. While Hurwitz was clerking for him, Newman wrote an opinion striking down Connecticut’s abortion law, a year before the U.S. Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade.

Hurwitz discussed the opinion in the Connecticut case, Abele v. Markle, 351 F. Supp. 224, in a 2002 law review article entitled “Jon O. Newman and the Abortion Decisions: A Remarkable First Year.”

Under an agreement reached yesterday, senators will discuss the nomination for up to an hour Monday afternoon before voting at around 5:30 p.m. Eastern time on whether to cut off debate. Sixty votes are necessary to end debate and move the nomination to a final vote.

If the 60 votes are not obtained, the Senate will move on to other business. If there are 60 votes to end debate, a final vote on the nomination must, under Senate rules, occur within 30 hours.

Hurwitz’s confirmation, following the earlier  confirmations of two judges from Los Angeles, Paul Watford and Jacqueline Nguyen, as well as Judge Morgan Christen of Alaska, would give the nation’s largest appellate court 28 active judges, leaving only one vacancy, with no nominees pending.

Obama has never made a nomination to the seat that Judge Stephen Trott vacated to take senior status in 2004. His predecessor, George W. Bush, had nominated Judge N. Randy Smith of Idaho to the seat, but the nomination became caught up in a territorial dispute as to whether Trott’s successor should come from California, where Trott lived before his appointment to the court, or Idaho, where he located to after his appointment.

The dilemma was temporarily solved when Smith’s nomination to the Trott seat was withdrawn and he was appointed instead to the seat vacated by a fellow Idahoan, the late Judge Thomas Nelson. But no one has been nominated to the Trott seat in the eight years since. 


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