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Josh Hawley

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Josh Hawley
Josh Hawley Primary Night.jpg
42nd Attorney General of Missouri
Assumed office
January 9, 2017
Governor Eric Greitens
Mike Parson
Preceded by Chris Koster
Personal details
Born Joshua David Hawley
(1979-12-31) December 31, 1979 (age 38)
Lexington, Missouri, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Erin Morrow
Children 2
Education Stanford University (BA)
Yale University (JD)
Website Campaign website
Government website

Joshua David Hawley (born December 31, 1979) is an American lawyer and politician serving as the 42nd and current Attorney General of Missouri. On August 8, 2018, he became the Missouri Republican Party’s nominee for U.S. Senate in Missouri's 2018 U.S. Senate election, running against incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill.

Education and early career

Hawley grew up in Lexington, Missouri, and graduated from Rockhurst High School in Kansas City, Missouri. He then attended Stanford University and graduated with highest honors in 2002 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. He moved to London and taught at St Paul's School, London, for a year.[1] Hawley then attended Yale Law School, where he led the school's chapter of the Federalist Society[2] and received a Juris Doctor degree in 2006.[3]

At age 28, Hawley wrote a biography of Theodore Roosevelt for Yale University Press entitled Theodore Roosevelt: Preacher of Righteousness.[2]

After law school, Hawley was a law clerk for Judge Michael W. McConnell of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.[1] He subsequently served as a law clerk at the Supreme Court of the United States for Chief Justice John Roberts. During this year, Hawley met his future wife, fellow Supreme Court clerk Erin Morrow.[2][4]

After Hawley's clerkships, he began working as an appellate litigator at Hogan Lovells in Washington, D.C (then called Hogan & Hartson) in 2008.[1] From 2011 to 2015, he worked for The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty; he worked for them full-time at their Washington, D.C. offices before moving to Missouri.[5] With Becket, he wrote briefs and gave legal advice in the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC Supreme Court case that was decided in 2012 and in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case which was decided in 2014.[6][7] In 2011, Hawley moved to Missouri and became an associate professor at the University of Missouri Law School, where he taught constitutional law, constitutional theory, legislation, and torts.[1][8]

In June 2013, Hawley served as a faculty member of the Blackstone Legal Fellowship, which is funded by Alliance Defending Freedom (a conservative Christian organization).[9]

In May 2015, Hawley was admitted to the Supreme Court bar and became eligible to argue cases before the Court.[6][7]

Attorney General of Missouri (2017–present)

2016 election

In 2016, Hawley ran for Attorney General of Missouri. On August 2, he defeated Kurt Schaefer in the Republican primary with 64% of the vote.[10] He faced Teresa Hensley in the general election on November 8. Hawley won 58.5% of the vote to Hensley's 41.5%.[10]

Affordable Care Act

In February 2018, Hawley joined Texas and 18 other Republican-led states in a lawsuit that challenges the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare)[11] and jeopardizes protections for pre-existing conditions.[12] Hawley did not directly respond to questions regarding his role in the lawsuit.[12]

Catholic clergy investigation

In August 2018, after reports of over 1,000 cases of sexual abuse by Catholic clerics were detailed in a report released by a grand jury in Pennsylvania, as well as protests by survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Saint Louis, Hawley announced that he would begin an investigation into potential cases of abuse in Missouri.[13] Missouri was one of several states to launch such investigations in the wake of the Pennsylvania report; the attorneys general in Illinois, Nebraska, and New Mexico began similar inquiries.[14] Hawley promised that he would investigate any crimes, publish a report for the public, and refer potential cases to local law enforcement officials. Robert James Carlson, the archbishop of Saint Louis, pledged cooperation with the inquiry.[15][13]

Greitens scandals

In December 2017, Missouri's Republican Governor Eric Greitens and senior members of his staff were accused by Democrats and government transparency advocates of subverting Missouri's open records laws after the Kansas City Star reported that they used Confide, a messaging app that erases texts after they have been read, on their personal phones.[16] Hawley initially declined to prosecute, citing a Missouri Supreme Court ruling that the attorney general can't simultaneously represent a state officer and take legal action against that officer. However, on December 20, 2017, he announced his office would investigate, saying that his clients are "first and foremost the citizens of the state".[17][18][19] Hawley said text messages between government employees, whether made on private or government-issued phones, should be treated the same as emails — there must be a determination made as to whether the text is a record, and if so, if it is subject to disclosure.[17] Hawley's investigation found that no laws had been broken.[20] In March 2018, six attorneys formerly employed by the State of Missouri under Democrats released a letter describing the investigation as "half-hearted"; Hawley's spokesperson called the letter a partisan attack.[20]

When allegations emerged in January 2018 that Greitens had blackmailed a woman with whom he was having an affair, Hawley's office said it did not jurisdiction to look into the matter, and Kim Gardner, the circuit attorney for the City of St. Louis opened an investigation into the allegations.[21][22] In April, after a special investigative committee of the Missouri House of Representatives released a report on the allegations, Hawley called for Greitens to resign immediately.[23] The next week, Gardner filed a second felony charge against Greitens, alleging that his campaign had taken donor and email lists from a veterans' charity Greitens founded in 2007 and had used the information to raise funds for his 2016 campaign for governor.[24]

Afterwards, Hawley announced an investigation based on the new felony charges.[25][26] On April 30, Hawley announced that his office had launched an investigation into possible violations of the state's Sunshine laws following allegations that a state employee had managed a social media account on Greitens' behalf.[27] That same month, Greitens asked a judge to issue a restraining order blocking Hawley from investigating him.[28]

On May 29, 2018, Greitens announced that he would resign effective June 1, 2018; Hawley issued a statement approving the decision.[29]

Investigations into tech companies

In November 2017, Hawley opened an investigation into whether Google's business practices violated state consumer protection and anti-trust laws. The investigation was focused on what data Google collects from users of its services, how it uses content providers' content, and whether its search engine results are biased.[30][31]

In April 2018, following the Cambridge Analytica Data Scandal, Hawley announced that his office had issued a subpoena to Facebook related to how the company shares their users’ data. The investigation sought to find whether Facebook properly handles its users’ sensitive data, as well as if Facebook collects more data on its users than it publicly admits.[32]

Opioid manufacturer lawsuit and investigation

In June 2017, Hawley announced that the State of Missouri had filed a lawsuit in state court against three major drug companies, Purdue Pharma, Endo Health Solutions, and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, for hiding the danger of prescription painkillers and contributing to the opioid epidemic. The state alleges that the companies violated Missouri consumer protection and Medicaid laws.[33][34] The damages sought were among the largest in state history, on the order hundreds of millions of dollars.[33]

In August 2017, Hawley announced that he had opened an investigation into seven opioid distributors (Allergan, Depomed, Insys, Mallinckrodt, Mylan, Pfizer and Teva Pharmaceuticals).[35] On October 2017 Hawley expanded his investigation into three additional pharmaceutical companies (AmerisouthBergen Corporation, Cardinal Health Inc., and McKesson Corporation), the three largest U.S. opioid distributors.[36]

Rape kit audit

On October 29, 2017, the Columbia Missourian published an expose describing a huge backlog of untested rape kits in the state of Missouri, and the long-ignored efforts of rape survivors and law enforcement agencies to have the state address the backlog.[37]

On November 29, 2017, Hawley announced a statewide audit of the number of untested rape kits.[38] The results were made public in May 2018; there were 5,000 such kits.[38] In August 2018 One Nation, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit connected to Karl Rove, ran commercials giving Hawley credit for identifying the problem instead of the Columbia Missourian.[37]

United States Senate campaign

In August 2017, Hawley filed notification papers that he had formed an exploratory campaign committee for the U.S. Senate.[39][40] In October 2017, Hawley officially declared his candidacy for the Republican nomination in Missouri's 2018 U.S. Senate election for the seat held by Democrat Claire McCaskill.[41][42] Hawley was endorsed by President Donald Trump in November 2017.[43] During the general election campaign, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and the subject of protections for preexisting conditions was a key issue, with both candidates pledging to ensure protections for preexisting conditions.[44][45][46] Hawley's participation in a lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act (including its protections for preexisting conditions) stirred controversy.[12]

Hawley met criticism from both Republicans and Democrats for initiating his Senate campaign less than a year after being sworn in as Attorney General. A New York Times story noted that his Attorney General campaign had featured messages of disdain for "ladder climbing politicians." Hawley dismissed this criticism, stating that a Senate run was not on his mind during the Attorney General campaign.[2]

Political views

Gun rights

Josh Hawley had a 93% rating from the NRA for 2018 and had an 86% rating for 2016.[47] He does not support an assault weapons ban, but does support some gun-control measures such as strengthening background checks, banning bump stocks, and banning mentally-ill people from having any type of guns.[48]

Health care

Hawley has criticized the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). As Attorney General, Hawley joined a lawsuit with 20 other states in seeking to have the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) declared unconstitutional.[49][50] Hawley said the Affordable Care Act "was never constitutional,"[49] and spoke proudly of his involvement in the lawsuit.[12] While running for the Senate in 2018, the Hawley campaign said that he supported protections for individuals with preexisting conditions, but did not elaborate on how such protections would be kept in place if the lawsuit would be successful.[12]

Human trafficking

Hawley stated that human trafficking is the result of women's sexual revolution in the 1960s, due to the social encouragement premarital sex and the use of contraception. After receiving criticism for these statements, Hawley reiterated that Hollywood culture was a major cause of human trafficking. The reasons for this connection were not made clear by the campaign and are not supported by empirical evidence.[51][52][53]


Hawley was supportive of Trump's separation of children from their parents who cross the border illegally, saying it was a matter of upholding law and order.[2] Asked if he believed that immigrants should be deported without due process (such as seeing a judge), Hawley would not answer.[54] Hawley did not respond to requests by the Kansas City Star about his views on DREAMers, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as minors.[55]

Social issues

Hawley opposes abortion and has called for the appointment of "constitutionalist, pro-life judges" to the U.S. Supreme Court and other federal courts.[56] Hawley has referred to Roe v. Wade as "one of the most unjust decisions" in American judicial history. He was endorsed by Missouri's Right to Life PAC in his 2018 U.S. Senate race.[56]

Hawley believes that the appropriate place for sex is "within marriage".[51]


Hawley supported Trump's imposition of trade tariffs.[2] Hawley hopes that the tariffs will be temporary, eventually resulting in lower tariffs on US agriculture than before the trade battles.[2] In September 2018, Hawley fully supported Trump's trade actions, saying "It's a trade war that China started. If we're in a war, I want to be winning it."[57]

Trump's tax returns

During his 2018 campaign, Hawley called on his opponent to release her husband's tax returns. When asked if Hawley thought that President Trump should release his tax returns, Hawley refused to directly answer.[58]

U.S. Supreme Court nominations

Hawley's first commercial in the 2018 Senate campaign focused on Brett Kavanaugh's nomination for the Supreme Court, which he supported.[59] After Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault, Hawley staunchly defended Kavanaugh and said that Democrats had staged an "ambush" on him.[59]

Electoral history

2016 Missouri Attorney General election: Republican primary results[60]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Josh Hawley 415,702 64.22
Republican Kurt Schaefer 231,657 35.78
Total votes 647,359 100.00%
2016 Missouri Attorney General Election: General election results[10]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Josh Hawley 1,607,550 58.5%
Democratic Teresa Hensley 1,140,252 41.5%
Total votes 2,747,802 100.00%

Personal life

Hawley and his wife, Erin Morrow, a law professor, live in Ashland, Missouri.[61] After complaints arose that he was not abiding by a residency requirement in state statute, Hawley also rented an apartment in Jefferson City.[62] They have two sons.[63]


  1. ^ a b c d "Josh Hawley's Worthy Climb | National Review". National Review. April 26, 2018. Retrieved 2018-07-24.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Stack, Liam (July 13, 2018). "Republicans Had a Plan for Josh Hawley in Missouri. He's Working on It".
  3. ^ Professor Erin Morrow Hawley profile, University of Missouri Law School. Retrieved October 9, 2017.
  4. ^ Belz, Emily (August 5, 2016). "Missouri AG contender has deep religious liberty legal roots". World. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  5. ^ "Josh Hawley - Becket". Becket. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  6. ^ a b Dunn, Rachael Herndon (September 29, 2015). "Questions raised over Hawley's arguing of Hobby Lobby case". The Missouri Times.
  7. ^ a b Ash, George (October 7, 2016). "Colleagues back Hawley's role in Supreme Court cases". Politifact Missouri.
  8. ^ "Joshua D. Hawley". University of Missouri School of Law. Archived from the original on August 3, 2016. Retrieved October 10, 2017.
  9. ^ Fenske, Sarah. "As a Mizzou Prof, Josh Hawley Took Money from Anti-Gay 'Alliance Defending Freedom'". Riverfront Times. Riverfront Times. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  10. ^ a b c IT, Missouri Secretary of State -. "State of Missouri - Election Night Results".
  11. ^ "Kansas and Missouri join another lawsuit seeking to overturn Affordable Care Act". kansascity.
  12. ^ a b c d e Lowry, Bryan (September 13, 2018). "Hawley under fire on pre-existing conditions as pressure from Dems mounts". McClatchy DC.
  13. ^ a b Marc Berman. "After Pennsylvania report on alleged church abuses, Missouri launches investigation. What will other states do?". Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-09-11.
  14. ^ Sharon Otterman & Laurie Goodstein, Stirred by Sexual Abuse Report, States Take On Catholic Church, New York Times (September 6, 2018).
  15. ^ Nassim Benchaabane; Jack Suntrup. "Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley launches investigation into clergy sex crimes". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2018-08-31.
  16. ^ Hancock, Jason (December 7, 2017). "Greitens' penchant for secrecy goes digital with messaging app that leaves no trace". Kansas City Star. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  17. ^ a b Hancock, Jason (December 11, 2017). "Greitens answers question about his use of secret texting app by attacking media". Kansas City Star. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  18. ^ Hancock, Jason (December 20, 2017). "Missouri attorney general will investigate Gov. Greitens' use of secret texting app". Kansas City Star. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  19. ^ Erickson, Kurt (January 2, 2018). "New lawsuit seeks to stop Missouri governor from using secretive phone app". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  20. ^ a b Ballentine, Summer (March 1, 2018). "Report: No laws broken for secret messaging app use in Greitens' office". Associated Press via St Louis Post-Dispatch.
  21. ^ Koch, Makenzie (January 11, 2018). "St. Louis circuit attorney launches investigation into Gov. Greitens following affair, blackmail allegations". Associated Press. Retrieved January 11, 2018.
  22. ^ Lowry, Bryan; Hancock, Jason (January 11, 2018). "Greitens faces criminal inquiry, calls for resignation after blackmail allegations". Kansas City Star. Kansas City, Missouri: McClatchy Company. Retrieved January 11, 2018.
  23. ^ Fandos, Nicholas (April 12, 2018). "In Missouri, Governor's Scandal Ensnares a Republican-Leaning Senate Race". New York Times.
  24. ^ Watson, Bob (April 24, 2018). "Special House committee keeps working". News Tribune.
  25. ^ Nilsen, Ella (April 19, 2018). "There's an all-out war between the Republican governor and Republican attorney general in Missouri". Vox. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  26. ^ Strauss, Daniel (April 23, 2018). "'She's a lucky duck': GOP implodes again for McCaskill". Elections. Politico. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  27. ^ Ruch, Amber (April 30, 2018). "AG Hawley opens inquiry into Gov. Greitens' social media accounts". KFVS. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  28. ^ Hancock, Jason; Vockrodt, Steve (April 18, 2018). "Gov. Greitens asks court to issue restraining order against AG Hawley". Kansas City Star. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  29. ^ Sullivan, Sean (May 29, 2018). "Embattled Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens says he will resign". Washington Post.
  30. ^ Wakabayashi, Daisuke (November 13, 2017). "Missouri Opens Antitrust Investigation Into Google". The New York Times.
  31. ^ Adams, Jasmine (July 25, 2018). "AG Hawley serves second subpoena in Google investigation". KFVS12.
  32. ^ Suntrup, Jack (April 2, 2018). "Hawley launches investigation into Facebook as fallout over user data continues". St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
  33. ^ a b Bernhard, Blythe (September 11, 2018). "Missouri sues three drug companies for pushing painkillers". St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
  34. ^ Raymond, Nate (June 21, 2017). "Missouri sues opioid manufacturers, joining two other U.S. states". Reuters.
  35. ^ Zhou, Janice (August 30, 2017). "Missouri attorney general's office announces investigation into opioid marketing". Columbia Missourian.
  36. ^ Koester, Samantha (October 31, 2017). "Missouri Attorney General expands opioid investigation to three more companies". Columbia Missourian.
  37. ^ a b Suntrup, Jack (August 30, 2018). "Ad Check: TV spot claiming Hawley 'uncovered' untested rape kits doesn't tell whole story". St Louis Post-Dispatch.
  38. ^ a b Erickson, Kurt. "5,000 rape kits sit untested in Missouri, audit finds". Retrieved 2018-09-11.
  39. ^ Pathe, Simone (August 2, 2017). "Missouri's Josh Hawley Forms Exploratory Committee for Senate Bid". Roll Call.
  40. ^ Josh Hawley Senate Exploratory Committee, Federal Elections Commission. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  41. ^ "Josh Hawley wins Missouri Republican Senate nomination". Washington Post. August 8, 2018. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  42. ^ Wise, Lindsay (October 17, 2017). "GOP's top Senate recruit in Missouri won't commit to voting for McConnell as leader". McClatchy. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  43. ^ Hancock, Jason; Lowry, Bryan (November 29, 2017). "Trump, in visit to Missouri, endorses Josh Hawley while promoting GOP tax plan". The Kansas City Star. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  44. ^ "Pre-existing conditions continues to take spotlight in U.S. Senate race". The Missouri Times. September 11, 2018. Retrieved 2018-09-24.
  45. ^ Abreu, Jenifer (August 16, 2018). "Pre-Existing Conditions Coverage Hot Topic in Missouri Senate Race". OZARKSFIRST. Retrieved 2018-09-24.
  46. ^ "The Affordable Care Act is a key issue in Missouri's U.S. Senate race - Missourinet". Missourinet. August 14, 2018. Retrieved 2018-09-24.
  47. ^ "Josh Hawley's Ratings and Endorsements". Vote Smart. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  48. ^ Schmitt, Will (February 27, 2018). "Josh Hawley files for office, supports President Trump's gun control ideas". Springfield News-Leader.
  49. ^ a b Margolies, Dan. "Kansas and Missouri Join States Arguing No Tax Penalty, No Affordable Care Act". Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  50. ^ "Missouri Attorney General joins anti Affordable Care Act alliance". Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  51. ^ a b "GOP candidate blames human trafficking on sexual liberation, saying it leads to 'slavery' of women". Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-09-13.
  52. ^ "Josh Hawley faces criticism after blaming sex trafficking on 1960s' sexual revolution". The Kansas City Star. Retrieved 2018-09-13.
  53. ^ "Missouri's chaotic, contentious Senate race, explained". Vox. Retrieved 2018-09-13.
  54. ^ "Do border crossers have due process rights under Constitution? AG Hawley won't say". kansascity. Retrieved 2018-10-08.
  55. ^ "McCaskill worked behind the scenes to end the shutdown. Republicans blame her anyway". kansascity. Retrieved 2018-10-08.
  56. ^ a b "Hawley gets Missouri Right to Life endorsement in U.S. Senate race against McCaskill". Springfield News-Leader. Retrieved 2018-08-30.
  57. ^ Segers, Grace (September 14, 2018). "Claire McCaskill and Josh Hawley spar in first Senate debate". CBS News.
  58. ^ "Hawley wants McCaskill to release full tax returns, dodges on if Trump should, too". kansascity. Retrieved 2018-10-08.
  59. ^ a b "Kavanaugh Was Supposed to Be a Midterm Boon for G.O.P. Not Anymore". Retrieved 2018-09-24.
  60. ^ "State of Missouri - Primary Election, August 02, 2016 - Official Results". Missouri Secretary of State. August 25, 2016. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  61. ^ "Faculty Bio-Erin Morrow Hawley". University of Missouri Law School. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  62. ^ Lowry, Bryan (November 15, 2017). "Missouri AG Josh Hawley faces lawsuit over where he lives". Kansas City Star. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  63. ^ "Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) | Twitter". Retrieved 2018-08-30.

Selected publications

  • Hawley, Joshua David (2008). Theodore Roosevelt, Preacher of Righteousness. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300120103.

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Ed Martin
Republican nominee for Attorney General of Missouri
Most recent
Preceded by
Todd Akin
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Missouri
(Class 1)

Legal offices
Preceded by
Chris Koster
Attorney General of Missouri