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Carla Anderson Hills

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Carla Hills
10th United States Trade Representative
In office
February 6, 1989 – January 20, 1993
PresidentGeorge H. W. Bush
Preceded byClayton Yeutter
Succeeded byMickey Kantor
5th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
In office
March 10, 1975 – January 20, 1977
PresidentGerald Ford
Preceded byJames Thomas Lynn
Succeeded byPatricia Roberts Harris
20th United States Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division
In office
PresidentRichard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Preceded byHarlington Wood Jr.
Succeeded byRex E. Lee
Co-Chair of the Council on Foreign Relations
In office
June 30, 2007 – July 1, 2017
Serving with Robert Rubin
PresidentRichard N. Haass
Preceded byPeter G. Peterson
Succeeded byDavid Rubenstein
Personal details
Carla Anderson

(1934-01-03) January 3, 1934 (age 90)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
(m. 1958; died 2014)
EducationStanford University (BA)
St Hilda's College, Oxford
Yale University (LLB)

Carla Anderson Hills (born January 3, 1934) is an American lawyer and former government official. A member of the Republican Party, she previously served as the 5th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Gerald Ford from 1975 to 1977 and as the 10th United States Trade Representative under President George H. W. Bush from 1989 to 1993. Hills was the first woman to hold each of those posts, the third woman ever to serve in a presidential cabinet, and the first appointed to both cabinet and cabinet-rank positions. Hills is the earliest-serving living former U.S. Cabinet member.

Early life and education[edit]

Born Carla Anderson in Los Angeles, she received her B.A. degree from Stanford University, after studying at St Hilda's College, Oxford. She earned her LL.B. degree from Yale Law School in 1958 and married Roderick M. Hills the same year.[1]


Hills being sworn in by Justice Byron White as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in 1975
Hills with President Gerald Ford in 1977

Hills was admitted to the California bar in 1959, and served as an Assistant United States Attorney in Los Angeles from 1959 to 1961. From 1962 to 1974, she and her husband were founding name partners at Munger, Tolles & Hills (now Munger, Tolles & Olson) in Los Angeles.[2] In 1972, she was an adjunct professor at UCLA.[3] An authority on federal practice and anti-trust law, Mrs. Hills wrote of Federal Civil Practice and Antitrust Advisor.[4] She is a former president of the National Association of Women Lawyers.

She was a United States Assistant Attorney General heading the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice before being named as the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Elliot L. Richardson sought to appoint her as assistant U.S. Attorney General in 1973, but he resigned shortly thereafter during the Watergate scandal. The offer was renewed by his successor, William B. Saxbe, in 1974.

Hills's lack of relevant experience was somewhat controversial during the hearings for her nomination to head the HUD Department in the Ford administration. While Secretary, she approved the demolition of the massive public housing project in Northwest St. Louis, Pruitt-Igoe, a decayed project. President Ford later commented in his autobiography, A Time to Heal, that Hills was an exceptionally effective advocate for HUD, often appealing the budgetary decisions of James Lynn, Ford's OMB chief, to the President and winning most of the time. Hills was one of the candidates on Ford's “short list” to replace U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas,[5] although Ford ultimately selected John Paul Stevens.

From 1978 through 1989, Hills returned to private practice. In 1978, she and her husband founded the Washington DC branch of Latham & Watkins under the name of Latham, Watkins & Hills. She served as chairwoman of the board of trustees of the Urban Institute from 1983 through 1988.

U.S. Trade Representative[edit]

Official portrait
Hills with President George H. W. Bush during the NAFTA Initialing Ceremony in Austin, Texas.

Hills served as U.S. Trade Representative in the George H. W. Bush administration from 1989 to 1993. She was under pressure to implement the 1988 Omnibus Foreign Trade and Competitiveness Act to go after countries that were considered to be trading unfairly with the U.S. The New York Times called Section 301 of the Act her “crowbar”, which enabled the U.S. to impose tariffs as high as 100%. She initially went after Japan, Brazil and India, although the Bush administration later decided Japan had changed its ways.[6]

An advocate of free trade, she was the primary U.S. negotiator of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In 2000, Hills was awarded the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle (La Orden Mexicana del Aguila Azteca), which is the highest honor awarded to non-citizens by the Mexican government.[7] In fact, it was the first time Mexican-Americans were awarded this award since November 12, 1990 when the union leader, Cesar Chavez, received it.[8]

President George H.W. Bush's administration's priority was to hammer out the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in the Uruguay Round, where Hills was known as a strong negotiator. “Delegations from 97 countries [sought] ways to notch down everyone’s tariffs and remove other obstacles to trade.” “The 97 signatories to GATT account for two-thirds of the $3 trillion in merchandise traded each year. Since the original agreement in 1947, GATT has been altered six times...” but, “after the last GATT revision – the Tokyo Round, which started in 1976 – many American industries were outclassed by others”.[6]

Post-government career[edit]

Since 1993, she has worked as a consultant and a public speaker through Hills & Company International Consultants, which merged with Dentons Global Advisors ASG in 2022.[9] Carla stepped down from Time Warner, Inc. with Ted Turner in 2006.[10] She now serves on international advisory boards for American International Group, The Coca-Cola Company, Gilead Sciences, Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase and Rolls-Royce as well as the board of the U.S.-China Business Council.[11][12]

In 2008, Yale University granted her an honorary degree. She has also received honorary degrees from other institutions.[13]

She was one of the founders of the Forum for International Policy where she is a trustee.[14]

In 2020, Hills, along with over 130 other former Republican national security officials, signed a statement that asserted that President Trump was unfit to serve another term, and "To that end, we are firmly convinced that it is in the best interest of our nation that Vice President Joe Biden be elected as the next President of the United States, and we will vote for him."[15]

In July 2022, Hills helped found a group of U.S. business and policy leaders who share the goal of constructively engaging with China in order to improve U.S.-China relations.[16]

North American community[edit]

In 2005, Hills participated in the Task Force on the Future of North America. The Task Force produced a controversial report called Building a North American Community sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations. The reported advocated strengthening trading relationships between the U.S., Canada and Mexico by making trade more efficient, building infrastructure in North America, fast tracking borders and integrating language. For example, it recommended assisting “elementary and secondary schools in teaching about North America.” (page 29) “Develop teacher exchange and training programs for elementary and secondary school teachers. This would assist in removing language barriers and give some students a greater sense of a North American identity. Greater efforts should also be made to recruit Mexican language teachers to teach Spanish in the United States and Canada.”[17]


Awards and honors[edit]

In 1979, the Supersisters trading card set was produced and distributed; one of the cards featured Hills’ name and picture.[21]

In 1993, Hills received the U.S. Senator John Heinz Award for Greatest Public Service by an Elected or Appointed Official, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Carla Anderson Hills". Retrieved 2009-02-07.
  2. ^ https://stacks.stanford.edu/file/druid:sm857zv4444/sm857zv4444_HillsC_Transcript.pdf
  3. ^ "International Crisis Group – Carla A. Hills". Archived from the original on 2009-09-12. Retrieved 2009-02-07.
  4. ^ Hills, Carla A. (1978). Antitrust Advisor: 1984 Cumulative Supplement. Colorado Springs: Shepard's, Inc. ISBN 978-0-07-056701-6.
  5. ^ Nemacheck, Christine L. (2008). Strategic Selection: Presidential Nomination of Supreme Court Justices from Herbert Hoover Through George W. Bush. University of Virginia Press. p. 78. ISBN 978-0-8139-2743-5.
  6. ^ a b Louis Uchitelle (June 10, 1990). "A Crowbar for Carla Hills". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-02-07.
  7. ^ "Hills Program on Governance, Roderick M. & Carla A. Hills". Archived from the original on 2009-06-10. Retrieved 2009-02-07.
  8. ^ Hamm, Patricia H. (July 1, 1996). "Chicanos, NAFTA and U.S.-Mexico Relations: A 1988-1993 Chronology" (PDF). Center for Research on Latinos in a Global Society (University of California, Irvine): 8. Retrieved 2009-02-07. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  9. ^ "News | Albright Stonebridge Group". www.albrightstonebridge.com. Retrieved 2022-08-17.
  10. ^ "Ted Turner and Carla A. Hills to Step Down from Time Warner's Board of Directors". February 24, 2006. Archived from the original on 2008-11-18. Retrieved 2009-02-07.
  11. ^ "Carla A. Hills Profile – Forbes.com". Archived from the original on 2009-03-04. Retrieved 2009-02-07.
  12. ^ "The US-China Business Council".
  13. ^ Yale University gives ex-Beatle honorary doctorate in music[permanent dead link] RepublicanAmerican, 2008-05-26, retrieved 2008-05-26
  14. ^ a b "The Forum for International Policy, trustees". Archived from the original on 2009-04-14. Retrieved 2009-02-07.
  15. ^ "Former Republican National Security Officials for Biden". Defending Democracy Together. 20 August 2020. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  16. ^ Greenberg, Maurice R. (2022-07-07). "We Want to Rebuild U.S. Relations With China - WSJ". Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 2022-07-07. Retrieved 2022-07-07.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  17. ^ Pastor, Robert A.; Hills, Carla A.; Jones, James R.; Manley, John P.; Niles, Thomas M.T.; Cunningham, Nelson W.; Weld, William F.; Yzaguirre, Raul H. (May 2005). Building a North American Community (PDF). Council on Foreign Relations Press. pp. 29–30. ISBN 0-87609-348-9. Retrieved 2009-02-07.
  18. ^ Board of Directors, Council on Foreign Relations, retrieved 2008-05-26
  19. ^ "Board of Directors | NCUSCR". Archived from the original on 2008-09-27. Retrieved 2008-07-04., National Committee on United States-China Relations, retrieved 2008-07-04
  20. ^ Inter-American Dialogue BoD, dead as of 2008-05-26 Archived May 6, 2007, at the Wayback Machine retrieved 2008-05-26
  21. ^ Wulf, Steve (2015-03-23). "Supersisters: Original Roster". Espn.go.com. Retrieved 2015-06-04.
  22. ^ "National Winners | public service awards | Jefferson Awards.org". Archived from the original on 2010-11-24. Retrieved 2013-08-05.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Succeeded by
Preceded by United States Trade Representative
Succeeded by
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Former US Secretary of State Order of precedence of the United States
as Former US Cabinet Member
Succeeded byas Former US Cabinet Member