Ariz. SC justice nominated to federal appeals court

Jessica M. Karmasek Nov. 4, 2011, 12:41pm


WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - President Barack Obama has nominated Arizona Supreme Court Justice Andrew David Hurwitz to serve on a federal appeals court.

Obama made the announcement Wednesday, recommending Hurwitz, 64, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, he would fill a vacancy scheduled to occur on Jan. 1, 2012, when Judge Mary M. Schroeder of Phoenix takes semi-retired senior status.

"Justice Hurwitz has proven himself to be not only a first-rate legal mind but a faithful public servant. It is with full confidence in his ability, integrity and independence that I nominate him to the bench of the United States Court of Appeals," Obama said in a statement.

Hurwitz has served on Arizona's high court since 2003 and as vice chief justice since 2009. He also serves as an adjunct professor of law at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, where he has taught regularly over the past three decades.

A native of New York, Hurwitz graduated from Princeton University in 1968 and Yale Law School in 1972.

He also served for four years in the Connecticut Army National Guard, after which he served in the U.S. Army Reserve.

After law school, Hurwitz joined the Arizona law firm of Martori Meyer Hendricks & Victor, now known as Osborn Maledon. He became a shareholder in the firm in 1977.

He left the firm in 1980 to spend three years serving as chief of staff to Arizona Gov. Bruce Babbitt.

In 1983, he returned to the law firm and spent the next 20 years there, specializing in appellate work and complex civil litigation. During that time, he argued two matters before the U.S. Supreme Court.

In addition, for a brief period in 1988, Hurwitz served as chief of staff to Arizona Gov. Rose Mofford.

He also served as a judge pro tempore on the Arizona Court of Appeals, Division 1, in 1994, 1996 and 1998.

Hurwitz has recently chaired both the Arizona Judicial Council's Commission on Technology and the Arizona Courts Ad Hoc Committee on the Rules of Evidence, and was a member of the Federal Rules of Evidence Advisory Committee from 2004 to 2010.

The Ninth Circuit hears appeals of cases decided by executive branch agencies and federal trial courts in nine western states and two Pacific Island jurisdictions. The court meets monthly in Seattle, Wash., San Francisco, Calif., and Pasadena, Calif.; every other month in Portland, Ore.; three times per year in Honolulu; and twice a year in Anchorage, Alaska.

The current annual salary of a circuit judge is $184,500.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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