Newspaper article Roll Call

Hurwitz Narrowly Escapes Filibuster

Newspaper article Roll Call

Hurwitz Narrowly Escapes Filibuster

Article excerpt

Democrats on Monday narrowly beat back a GOP filibuster of President Barack Obama's nomination of Andrew Hurwitz to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, despite a last-minute campaign by conservative activists to torpedo the appointment.

Hurwitz's nomination moved forward on a 60-31 vote.

Although he was backed by Sen. John McCain and Minority Whip Jon Kyl, the Arizona Republicans were barely able to muster the eight Republicans needed to move Hurwitz's nomination forward. Sens. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Scott Brown (Mass.), Dick Lugar (Ind.), Susan Collins (Maine), Olympia Snowe (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) joined Kyl and McCain in voting for Hurwitz's nomination.

Seven Republicans were all Democrats needed to reach the 60 votes to beat back the filibuster, but the majority was unable to hold all 53 Senators in its own caucus. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin was the lone Democrat to break ranks with his party and the president.

In a surprise, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) voted to filibuster Hurwitz despite supporting the nominee in committee two months ago.

Hurwitz is the vice chief justice of the Arizona Supreme Court. Early in his legal career, he clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart. In March, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 13-5 to endorse Hurwitz. Some Republicans expressed concerns over his writings on abortion and the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized the practice.

But Kyl, Graham and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) broke with Judiciary ranking member Chuck Grassley (Iowa) in voting for his nomination in March.

Although Hurwitz had seemed on a track to an easy, albeit protracted, confirmation, the National Right to Life Committee on June 8 threw a potential complication into the debate. The NRLC circulated a letter to Senators threatening to mark as a "key vote" roll calls related to his confirmation. The anti-abortion group has cited Hurwitz's work in the 1970s for Judge Jon Newman, a district judge in the District of Connecticut. …

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