- - Tuesday, June 12, 2012

President Obama’s campaign is launching a new ad against Republican challenger Mitt Romney, building on Mr. Obama’s attack against his rival’s economic record as Massachusetts governor.

The ad picks up where a campaign commercial left off last week. It accuses Mr. Romney of leaving the state’s debt and employment in worse condition than he found them. It says Mr. Romney presided over a state with the highest debt in the country and says it ranked 47th in the country in job creation. Mr. Romney was governor from 2003 to 2007.

The ad airs in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

The ad is selective in its economic data. The Massachusetts economy improved slightly while Mr. Romney was governor, but its average employment growth was among the nation’s worst.


Lawmakers confirm jurist to 9th Circuit

An Arizona Supreme Court justice was confirmed as a U.S. appellate judge Tuesday, despite complaints from conservatives that he influenced the Roe v. Wade ruling while a law clerk four decades ago.

The Senate confirmed Andrew David Hurwitz by voice vote, elevating him to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals serving Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, California and Arizona.

Republican conservatives took the unusual step of criticizing Judge Hurwitz as a young law clerk in 1972, raising the issue of how far back senators should go in judging a nominee’s qualifications for the federal bench.

At that time, he clerked for U.S. District Judge Jon Newman of Connecticut, who wrote two opinions that were the forerunners of the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, argued, “If we start doing that sort of thing, then we can vote down anybody for anything,”

Mr. Leahy mocked the opponents Monday when the Senate debated - and then decided - to move forward with Tuesday’s confirmation:

“Oh, when they were 11 years old, they stayed out late one night,” he said. “We can’t have a judge on our court who disobeyed the rules, the laws laid down by their families, and they were out late.”

Mr. Leahy added that law clerks provide judges with background information on the law related to a particular case, but judges make up their own minds on the outcome.

The ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, offered a second reason for opposing the nomination - arguing that Judge Hurwitz‘ record indicates he opposes the death penalty.

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