WASHINGTON, D.C., June 13, 2012, ( – The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, already one of the nation’s most liberal courts, will add a new judge with ties to Roe v. Wade after the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Andrew David Hurwitz to the federal bench on Tuesday.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid insisted on a voice vote. Several pro-life organizations had noted they would be scoring the vote. His move made that impossible.

In a statement after the vote, Hurwitz thanked Arizona senators John McCain and Jon Kyl, who helped push his nomination forward, as well as Democratic Congressman Ed Pastor. 

Vermont Democrat Pat Leahy also supported Hurwitz, saying from the well of the Senate, “An unfair campaign is being mounted by the extreme right against this outstanding nominee.”

The New York-born Hurwitz graduated from Yale Law School. He has boasted that as a judicial clerk for Judge Jon O. Newman in 1972 he had a hand in authoring the opinions Abele v. Markle I and Abele v. Markle II, which struck down two Connecticut laws banning abortion except to save the life of the mother. The cases exercised crucial influence in the Roe v. Wade case, which legalized abortion nationwide.


In the 1980s, he served as chief of staff for former Arizona governors Bruce Babbit and Rose Mofford, both Democrats. In 2003, then-Governor Janet Napolitano named Hurwitz to the Arizona Supreme Court.

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Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-IA, said he was “shocked and disappointed” by the voice vote. Grassley had expressed reservations about Hurwitz’s pro-abortion history, saying that it is impossible not to conclude “that he wholeheartedly embraces Roe, and importantly, the constitutional arguments supporting it.”

A motion to end debate passed the Senate Monday after eight Republicans crossed the aisle to vote with Senate Democrats. They were Lamar Alexander, R-TN; Scott Brown, R-MA; Susan Collins, R-ME; Jon Kyl, R-AZ; Richard Lugar, R-IN; John McCain, R-AZ; Lisa Murkowski, R-AK; and Olympia Snowe, R-ME. 

At the same time, Hurwitz’s promotion is good news for the pro-life cause in Arizona, where the new federal judge will have to resign his seat on the state supreme court. Governor Jan Brewer will name his replacement, leaving only one Democratic appointee, Scott Bales, on the high court.