Bill Schuette

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Bill Schuette
President Donald Trump with Bill Schuette (cropped).jpg
53rd Attorney General of Michigan
In office
January 1, 2011 – January 1, 2019
GovernorRick Snyder
Preceded byMike Cox
Succeeded byDana Nessel
Judge of the Michigan Fourth District Court of Appeals
In office
January 1, 2003 – January 1, 2009
Preceded byDonald Holbrook
Succeeded byMichael Kelly
Member of the Michigan Senate
from the 35th district
In office
January 11, 1995 – January 8, 2003
Preceded byJoanne Emmons
Succeeded byMichelle McManus
Director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture
In office
January 11, 1991 – February 25, 1994
GovernorJohn Engler
Preceded byRobert Mitchell
Succeeded byGordon Guyer
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 10th district
In office
January 3, 1985 – January 3, 1991
Preceded byDonald Albosta
Succeeded byDave Camp
Personal details
William Duncan Schuette

(1953-10-13) October 13, 1953 (age 68)
Midland, Michigan, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
ChildrenBill G. Schuette, Heidi Schuette
EducationGeorgetown University (BS)
University of Aberdeen
University of San Francisco (JD)

William Duncan Schuette (/ˈʃti/ SHOO-tee;[1] born October 13, 1953) is an American lawyer and politician who served as the 53rd attorney general of Michigan from 2011 to 2019.[2] He was the unsuccessful Republican nominee for Governor of Michigan in the 2018 gubernatorial election.

Early life[edit]

Schuette was born in Midland, Michigan. He is the son of Esther Cathrin (Little) and William H. Schuette,[3] and step-son of Carl Gerstacker, former chairman of the board of The Dow Chemical Company.[4] Schuette graduated from Herbert Henry Dow High School in 1972. He attended Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and in 1976 graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in the Foreign Service. He also studied at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and received a J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law in 1979. Schuette was admitted to the Michigan bar in 1981.[5]

Political career[edit]

Schuette meeting with President Ronald Reagan in 1985
Schuette with President George H. W. Bush in 1990
Schuette with President Donald Trump in 2018
Schuette at his 2011 Inauguration

Schuette was a delegate to the Michigan Republican conventions in 1972, 1974, and 1982.

In November 1984, at the age of 31, Schuette narrowly defeated incumbent Democrat Donald J. Albosta for a seat in the United States House of Representatives from Michigan's 10th congressional district. Schuette was re-elected to the two succeeding Congresses, serving from January 3, 1985 until January 3, 1991. In 1990, he unsuccessfully challenged Democrat United States Senator Carl Levin for reelection. While in Congress, Schuette served on the House Budget Committee, the House Agriculture Committee and the House Select Committee on Aging.

In January 1991, Schuette was named by then-Governor John Engler as the director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture. The incumbent director, Robert Mitchell, resigned after Engler was elected governor.[6] He was approved by the five member agriculture commission on January 11, 1991.[7] While director, Schuette and his wife Cynthia created the Michigan Harvest Gathering, a food and fund drive to help feed hungry people throughout the state.[8] Joining with the Food Bank Council of Michigan, the Michigan Harvest Gathering has raised more than $4 million and 6 million pounds of food over a 12-year period.[8] He resigned from his post on February 25, 1994 to run for the Michigan State Senate.[9] He was replaced by Gordon Guyer as director of agriculture.[10][11]

In November 1994, he was elected to the Michigan Senate from the 35th district, where he served until 2003. In 2001, Schuette was selected by President George W. Bush to be his personal representative to Australian-American Friendship Week in Australia.

In November 2002, he was elected a judge on the Michigan Fourth District Court of Appeals. He succeeded Donald E. Holbrook Jr.[12] He took office in January 2003.[13] His term expired on January 1, 2009. He was replaced by Michael J. Kelly.[14]

In 2008, Michigan voters considered a ballot initiative to establish a medical marijuana program for registered patients with qualifying conditions. Schuette served as a spokesperson for a group opposed to the proposed law.[15] After leaving the judiciary, Schuette worked for Warner, Norcross & Judd, one of Michigan's largest law firms.[16]

On November 2, 2010, Schuette won the election to become Michigan Attorney General.[17]

In September 2011, petition language to recall Schuette was approved by Midland County authorities, allowing the circulating of recall petitions. Among the grievances cited are his attempts to undermine the medical marijuana law approved by voters in 2008.[18][19]

In 2011, Schuette filed suit to close two Michigan abortion clinics on grounds of improper record disposal.[20]

Before the Supreme Court's 2015, decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, Schuette fought against same-sex marriage.[21]

On August 19, 2015, Schuette endorsed Jeb Bush for president.[22]

In December 2016, Schuette filed suit to try to stop a presidential election recount effort in Michigan requested by Green Party candidate Jill Stein.[23]

In January 2017, Schuette was admonished by Eastern District of United States of Michigan Judge David M. Lawson for attempting to file an amicus brief taking an opposite position than Schuette originally took on the issue of requiring the State of Michigan to supply bottled water to Flint residents who lack tap filters. Judge Lawson said it injected a "troubling ethical issue into [the] lawsuit" and it suggested "superficial posturing" on behalf of Schuette.[24]

2018 gubernatorial campaign[edit]

Schuette was widely believed to be planning to run for governor of Michigan.[25] In July 2016, before speaking on the opening day of the 2016 Republican National Convention Schuette changed the name of his fundraising committee from "Bill Schuette for Attorney General" to "Bill Schuette for Michigan." Despite being ineligible for a further term as Attorney General due to term-limits, Schuette had continued to raise funds[26] since his November 2014 re-election.

In December 2016, Schuette said he had not made up his mind on running for governor but would make a decision sometime in 2017.[27] This is backed up by reports of a falling out between the Attorney General and Governor Rick Snyder.[28]

On September 12, 2017, Schuette announced his campaign for governor in Midland, Michigan.[29] On August 7, 2018, Schuette won the Republican nomination for Michigan governor by defeating Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley and state Senator Patrick Colbeck.[30] His candidacy was supported by President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.[31][32] On November 6, 2018, he lost the general election to Democrat Gretchen Whitmer, a former Michigan senate leader, by a nine-point margin.

Personal life[edit]

Schuette lives in Midland, Michigan with his wife Cynthia. They have two children.[33]


On July 3, 2018, Ingham County prosecutor Carol Siemon requested a grand jury investigation (which was never conducted) to probe the sale of multimillion-dollar property inherited by Schuette in the Virgin Islands, to determine if any laws were violated. Schuette's spokesperson stated that the accusation was a "baseless attack on an attorney general with a strong ethical record".[34]

Schuette was working to strike down a ballot initiative to eliminate partisan gerrymandering, which has gained enough signatures to be on the Michigan ballot in the November 2018 election.[35] The issue went on to the state supreme court, where "Five of the seven justices were nominated or appointed by Republicans, and two of those have received financial backing from the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, which also happens to be one of the main funders of the opposition campaign. Both justices have refused to recuse themselves from the case."[35] The court upheld the inclusion of the initiative on the ballot which was approved by voters.[36]

Electoral history[edit]

Michigan's 10th Congressional District election, 1984[37]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Bill Schuette 104,950 50.1 +11.2
Democratic Don Albosta (I) 103,636 49.4 -10.7
Libertarian Bill Leef 1,054 0.5 +0.5
Majority 1,314 0.7 -20.5
Turnout 209,645 +23.5
Republican gain from Democratic
Michigan's 10th Congressional District election, 1986[38]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Bill Schuette (I) 78,475 51.1 +1.0
Democratic Don Albosta 74,941 48.8 -0.6
Write-In Write-in 8 0.005 N/A
Majority 3,534 2.3 +1.7
Turnout 153,424 -26.8
Republican hold
Michigan's 10th Congressional District election, 1988[39]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Bill Schuette (I) 152,646 72.7 +21.6
Democratic Mathias G. Forbes 74,941 26.4 -22.4
Libertarian Gary R. Bradley 1,812 0.9 +0.9
Other Other 7 0.003 N/A
Majority 77,705 46.3 +44.1
Turnout 209,863 +36.8
Republican hold
United States Senate election in Michigan, 1990[40]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Carl Levin (Incumbent) 1,471,753 57.4 +5.6
Republican Bill Schuette 1,055,695 41.2 -6.0
Workers World Susan Farquhar 32,796 1.3 +1.24
Majority 416,058 16.2 +11.6
Turnout 2,560,494 +36.8
Democratic hold
Michigan Senate 35th District election, 1998[41]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Bill Schuette (I) 61,510 70.4 N/A
Democratic Brian Baldwin 25,900 29.6 N/A
Majority 35,610 40.8 N/A
Republican hold
Michigan attorney general election, 2010[42]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Bill Schuette 1,649,223 52.59% -1.29%
Democratic David Leyton 1,363,486 43.48% -0.03%
Libertarian Daniel Grow 62,737 2.00% +0.33%
Constitution Gerald Van Sickle 60,778 1.94% +0.95%
Majority 285,737 9.11% -1.21%
Turnout 3,136,224 -0.15%
Republican hold
Michigan attorney general election, 2014[43]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Bill Schuette (incumbent) 1,603,471 52.11% -0.48%
Democratic Mark Totten 1,359,839 44.19% +0.71%
Libertarian Justin Altman 57,345 1.86% -0.08%
Constitution Gerald Van Sickle 30,762 1.0% -0.94%
Green John La Pietra 25,747 0.84%
Majority 243,632 7.92% -1.19%
Turnout 3,077,164 -1.88%
Republican hold
Michigan gubernatorial election, 2018[44][45]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Gretchen Whitmer
Garlin Gilchrist
2,256,791 53.34% +6.48%
Republican Bill Schuette
Lisa Posthumus Lyons
1,853,650 43.81% -7.11%
Libertarian Bill Gelineau
Angelique Chaiser Thomas
56,752 1.34% +0.21%
Constitution Todd Schleiger
Earl P. Lackie
24,701 0.58% -0.03%
Green Jennifer V. Kurland
Charin H. Davenport
28,857 0.68% +0.21%
Natural Law Keith Butkovitch
Raymond Warner
10,258 0.24% -
Majority 403,141 9.53% +5.47%
Turnout 4,231,009 34.04%
Democratic gain from Republican Swing



  • United States Congress. "Bill Schuette (id: S000143)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  • The Political Graveyard
  • Fourth District Judges


  1. ^ "Washington Talk: Briefing; Names to Know". New York Times. December 31, 1987. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
  2. ^ AG-elect Bill Schuette announces transition team - Chicago Tribune, November 5, 2010
  3. ^ Lackey, Angela E. (August 4, 2003). "Esther Gerstacker, local civic leader, dies". Midland Daily News. Retrieved September 18, 2020.
  4. ^ "Schuette blasts columnist for taking shot at mother". Midland Daily News. Retrieved December 26, 2017.
  5. ^ "Bill Schuette—P32532 (active and in good standing)". State Bar of Michigan. Archived from the original on April 7, 2014. Retrieved April 4, 2014.
  6. ^ "Battle Creek Enquirer from Battle Creek, Michigan on January 11, 1991 · Page 1".
  7. ^ "Battle Creek Enquirer from Battle Creek, Michigan on January 11, 1991 · Page 1".
  8. ^ a b "Michigan Court of Appeals - 4th District Judges". March 20, 2007. Archived from the original on March 20, 2007.
  9. ^ "Battle Creek Enquirer from Battle Creek, Michigan on January 7, 1994 · Page 1".
  10. ^ "Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan on February 17, 1994 · Page 24".
  11. ^ "MDARD - View a list of MDARD directors both past and present".
  12. ^ "Lansing State Journal from Lansing, Michigan on February 5, 2002 · Page 8".
  13. ^ "Judge Schuette". September 9, 2004.
  14. ^ "Michael J. Kelly's drive to succeed as an attorney lands him on bench with state Court of Appeals". November 24, 2008.
  15. ^ "Is marijuana good medicine?". The Detroit Free Press. October 25, 2008.
  16. ^ "Michigan's Largest Law Firms 2010 Edition" (PDF).
  17. ^ Michigan's, Official Website. "Biography of Attorney General". Retrieved November 27, 2012.
  18. ^ "Medical marijuana advocate wins OK to launch recall drive targeting Attorney General Bill Schuette". September 7, 2011.
  19. ^ "Medical marijuana advocate files third recall petition targeting Attorney General Bill Schuette". August 19, 2011.
  20. ^ "Attorney General Bill Schuette: Delta Township, Saginaw abortion clinics to permanently close". November 22, 2011.
  21. ^ Pluta, Zoe Clark, Rick. "Even with SCOTUS decision, fight over LGBT rights in Michigan continues".
  22. ^ "Mich. AG Schuette endorses Jeb Bush for president".
  23. ^ Nolan D. McCaskill, December 2, 2016, Politico, Michigan attorney general files lawsuit to halt recount, Retrieved December 2, 2016, "...Michigan's attorney general has filed a lawsuit to stop a recount of the presidential election results requested by Green Party nominee Jill Stein ..."
  24. ^ David Lat, January 26, 2017, Above the Law, "Federal Judge Benchslaps Attorney General For 'Superficial Posturing'"
  25. ^ "Calley coy as Schuette positions himself for gov's race".
  26. ^ Chad Livengood (July 14, 2016). "Schuette inches toward possible run for governor". Detroit News. Retrieved December 11, 2016.
  27. ^ Jule Mack (December 8, 2016). "Attorney General Bill Schuette says he'll decide in 2017 on gubernatorial run". MLive. Retrieved December 9, 2016.
  28. ^ David Eggert (July 10, 2016). "Rick Snyder, Bill Schuette at odds over more than Flint water probe". Associated Press. Retrieved December 11, 2016.
  29. ^ "Schuette announces campaign for governor". September 12, 2017.
  30. ^ "Bill Schuette wins Michigan Republican primary for governor". mlive. August 8, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2020.
  31. ^ Conradis, Brandon (September 16, 2017). "Trump endorses Michigan attorney general for governor". Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  32. ^ "Vice president Mike Pence supports Bill Schuette for governor". The Oakland Press. November 27, 2017.
  33. ^ "Biography of Attorney General Bill Schuette". Retrieved August 11, 2018.
  34. ^ "Request for Schuette probe referred to FBI". The Detroit News. July 3, 2018. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  35. ^ a b "Opinion | Do-It-Yourself Legislative Redistricting". The New York Times. July 21, 2018. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on August 18, 2018. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  36. ^ Egan, Paul. "Michigan voters approve anti-gerrymandering Proposal 2". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved September 18, 2020.
  37. ^ "Statistics of Congressional Elections of November 6, 1984" (PDF). Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. May 1, 1985. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  38. ^ "Statistics of Congressional Elections of November 4, 1986" (PDF). Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. May 29, 1987. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  39. ^ "Statistics of Congressional Elections of November 8, 1988" (PDF). Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. April 20, 1989. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  40. ^ Parker, Randy; Reporting for Duty (April 9, 2005). "Our Campaigns: MI U.S. Senate". Our Campaigns.
  41. ^ "Statistics of Congressional Elections of November 8, 1988". Our Campaigns. December 14, 2010. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  42. ^ "Election Results - General Election - November 2, 2010". Michigan Department of State. February 22, 2016. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  43. ^ "Election Results - General Election - November 4, 2014". Michigan Department of State. November 24, 2014. Archived from the original on December 1, 2014. Retrieved November 29, 2014.
  44. ^ "2018 Michigan Official General Election Results - 11/06/2018".
  45. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on November 16, 2018. Retrieved November 16, 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Michigan
(Class 2)

Succeeded by
Preceded by Republican nominee for Attorney General of Michigan
2010, 2014
Succeeded by
Preceded by Republican nominee for Governor of Michigan
Most recent
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 10th congressional district

Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by
Robert Mitchell
Director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture
Succeeded by
Michigan Senate
Preceded by Member of the Michigan Senate
from the 35th district

Succeeded by
Legal offices
Preceded by
Donald Holbrook
Judge of the Michigan Fourth District Court of Appeals
Succeeded by
Michael Kelly
Preceded by Attorney General of Michigan
Succeeded by