(CN) – The U.S. Senate confirmed the appointment of Arizona Supreme Court Justice Andrew Hurwitz to the 9th Circuit.
Hurwitz will fill a vacancy left by Judge Mary Schroeder, of Phoenix, who took senior status on Dec. 31, 2011.
The Senate confirmed Hurwitz, 64, by voice vote Tuesday, but only after a heated debate reported by The Arizona Republic, the Huffington Post and several other news agencies concerning the decision to confirm him without a role call.
Republican conservatives have also balked that Hurwitz is “too liberal” and played an influential role as a law clerk in the pivotal 1972 abortion case, Roe v. Wade. The allegations drew criticism from Democrats.
Deputy Republican leader and Arizona state Sen. John Kyl denied accusations that he “worked out” a deal behind closed doors with Majority Leady Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Republican leaders to avoid a roll call, The Huffington Post reported.
Responding to concerns over Hurwitz’s role in Roe v. Wade, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., dismissed the former law clerk’s purported influence, according to HuffPo. He argued that, “if we start doing that sort of thing, then we can vote down anybody, for anything.”
The Arizona Republic said the debate ended with Hurwitz’s confirmation.
Hurwitz graduated from Princeton University in 1968 and received his law degree from Yale University in 1972. He served as a clerk for U.S. District Judge Jon Newman in Connecticut in 1972; for 2nd Circuit Judge J. Joseph Smith from 1972 to 1973; and for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart from 1973 to 1974.
He was an associate from 1974 to 1980, and partner from 1983 to 1995 at the firm Martori Meyer Hendricks & Victor, which which later became Osborn Maledon.
Hurwitz also served as judge pro tempore on the Arizona Court of Appeals, Division I, in 1994, 1996 and 1998 before being appointed to the Arizona Supreme Court by then Gov. Janet Napolitano in 2003. He had served as vice chief justice of the court since 2009 and as an adjunct professor of law at Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, since 2004.
Hurwitz, nominated by President Obama, will receive an annual salary of $174,000.