Arizona Supreme Court Vice Chief Justice Andrew D. Hurwitz has been nominated to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by President Obama. He would fill the seat of semi-retired Judge Mary M. Schroeder of Phoenix.
Although a commercial litigation attorney in private practice and an appellate lawyer, he may be best known for successfully arguing to the U.S. Supreme Court that the Constitution requires a jury, rather than a judge, to decide whether circumstances are sufficient to qualify a defendant for the death penalty. Hurwitz represented Timothy Ring and several other death row inmates in Ring v. Arizona. The Supreme Court in a 7-2 decision in 2002 agreed with Hurwitz.
A year after that victory, former Gov. Janet Napolitano appointed Hurwitz, 64, to the Arizona Supreme Court. He has been vice chief justice since 2009.
He was a partner at Osborn Maledon from 1995 to 2003 and prior to that was with Martori Meyer Hendricks & Victor, with later became Osborn Maledon.
Hurwitz is a native of New York. He graduated from Princeton University in 1968, cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He received his law degree from Yale University in 1972.
He later clerked for U.S. District Judge Jon O. Newman in Connecticut and Judge J. Joseph Smith on the 2nd Circuit. He also served as a Supreme Court Clerk to Justice Potter Stewart from 1973 to 1974.
In 1973, Stewart famously changed his views on abortion and was a key to the Court’s Roe v. Wade decision recognizing the right to abortion under the “right of privacy.”
Hurwitz must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
The 9th Circuit is the nation’s largest appeals court covering nine western states and two Pacific Islands. There are 29 authorized judgeships with four current vacancies.