|United States Senator|
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2019
Serving with Roy Blunt
|Preceded by||Claire McCaskill|
|42nd Attorney General of Missouri|
January 9, 2017 – January 3, 2019
|Preceded by||Chris Koster|
|Succeeded by||Eric Schmitt|
Joshua David Hawley
December 31, 1979
Springdale, Arkansas, U.S.
|Education||Stanford University (BA)|
Yale University (JD)
Joshua David Hawley (born December 31, 1979) is an American attorney and Republican politician, currently serving as the junior United States Senator from Missouri. Hawley served as the 42nd Attorney General of Missouri from 2017 to 2019, before defeating two-term Democratic incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill in the 2018 election. He is currently the youngest member of the U.S. Senate at 40.
Early life, education and early career
Hawley was born in Springdale, Arkansas, but soon moved to Lexington, Missouri, where his father worked as a banker and his mother was a teacher. He graduated from Rockhurst High School in Kansas City, Missouri. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Stanford University in 2002, graduating with highest honors. He moved to London and taught at St Paul's School for a year. Hawley then attended Yale Law School, where he led the school's chapter of the Federalist Society and received a Juris Doctor degree in 2006.
Following law school, Hawley clerked for Judge Michael W. McConnell of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, and later served as a law clerk to Chief Justice John Roberts. During this year, Hawley met his future wife, fellow Supreme Court clerk Erin Morrow.
After Hawley's clerkships, he began working as an appellate litigator at Hogan Lovells in Washington, D.C (then called Hogan & Hartson) in 2008. 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. 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. 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.
Attorney General of Missouri (2017–2019)
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. He faced Teresa Hensley in the general election on November 8. Hawley won 58.5% of the vote to Hensley's 41.5%.
Affordable Care Act
In February 2018, Hawley joined 20 other Republican-led states in a lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare). The lawsuit could eliminate insurance protections for people with pre-existing conditions. In September 2018, amid criticism from Hawley's U.S. Senate opponent, Claire McCaskill, about the lawsuit's impact on pre-existing conditions, Hawley's office did not clarify his role in the case. In December 2018, a federal district court judge in Texas ruled that the entirety of the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional.
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. 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. 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.
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. 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". 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. Hawley's investigation found that no laws had been broken. 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.
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 have jurisdiction to look into the matter, and Kimberly Gardner, the circuit attorney for the City of St. Louis opened an investigation into the allegations. 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. 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.
Afterwards, Hawley announced an investigation based on the new felony charges. 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. That same month, Greitens asked a judge to issue a restraining order blocking Hawley from investigating him.
On May 29, 2018, Greitens announced that he would resign effective June 1, 2018; Hawley issued a statement approving of the decision.
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.
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.
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. The damages sought were among the largest in state history, on the order of hundreds of millions of dollars.
In August 2017, Hawley announced that he had opened an investigation into seven opioid distributors (Allergan, Depomed, Insys, Mallinckrodt, Mylan, Pfizer and Teva Pharmaceuticals). In 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.
Rape kit audit
On October 29, 2017, the Columbia Missourian published an exposé 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.
On November 29, 2017, Hawley announced a statewide audit of the number of untested rape kits. The results were made public in May 2018; there were 5,000 such kits. In August 2018, One Nation, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit connected to Karl Rove, ran commercials giving Hawley, instead of the Columbia Missourian, credit for identifying the problem.
2018 Senate campaign
In August 2017, Hawley filed notification papers that he had formed an exploratory campaign committee for the U.S. Senate. 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.
The tightly contested Republican primary had 11 runners hoping to unseat Claire McCaskill. Hawley received substantial support from prominent Republicans, such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, President Donald Trump, and the Senate Conservatives Fund. Hawley won a large majority of the votes in the primary election.
Hawley was endorsed by President Donald Trump in November 2017. 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. Hawley's participation in a lawsuit which could end insurance protections for people with pre-existing conditions by overturning the Affordable Care Act was criticized by McCaskill. Hawley made McCaskill's upcoming vote on the confirmation of CIA Director, Mike Pompeo, for the post of Secretary of State a campaign issue. Hawley's campaign spokesperson asked, "Will Senator McCaskill ignore her liberal donors and support Mike Pompeo for Secretary of State, or will she stick with Chuck Schumer and continue to obstruct the President?" "It is deeply troubling how focused Senator McCaskill is on doing what’s politically convenient, instead of doing what’s right."
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.
On December 6, 2018, Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft launched an inquiry into whether Hawley misappropriated public funds to support his candidacy for U.S. Senate. Hawley's office denied any wrongdoing. On February 28, 2019, Ashcroft closed the investigation because there was insufficient evidence that "an offense has been committed."
On November 18, 2019, Hawley announced the National Security and Personal Data Protection Act, which would make it illegal for American companies to store user data or encryption keys in China. Engadget noted it might cause "serious problems" for companies that are legally obligated to store data in China, like Apple or TikTok, and "might force them to leave China altogether." It wasn't Hawley's first bill focused on tech, and he had also introduced proposals to ban loot boxes in gaming, and restrict social network features "deemed addictive," among others. In particular, Hawley focused on TikTok, saying the bill would cover Russia as well as China, and "any other country the State Department deems a security risk." The bill was "targeted at social media platforms and data-intensive businesses, would block such mergers by default without pre-approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States." The bill also prevents the collection of "more user data than is necessary to conduct business."
- Committee on Armed Services
- Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
- Committee on the Judiciary
- Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
- Special Committee on Aging
In January 2019, Hawley was one of eleven Republican senators to vote to advance legislation aimed at blocking President Trump's intended lifting of sanctions against three Russian companies.
In October 2019, Hawley sponsored the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. Before the Bill went to the House of Representatives, Hawley visited Hong Kong to see the situation of protests first hand. He later commented on Twitter that Beijing was trying to turn Hong Kong into a "police state". In response, Carrie Lam, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong said the comment was "irresponsible".
Hawley received a 93% rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA) for 2018 and an 86% rating for 2016. He does not support an assault weapons ban, but does support some gun-control measures including strengthening background checks, banning bump stocks, and banning mentally-ill people from having any type of guns. Hawley, like Matt Rosendale (in Montana's 2018 race) and Richard Burr, used National Media as a media consultant – the same firm as used by the NRA.
Hawley has criticized the Affordable Care Act. As Attorney General, Hawley joined a lawsuit with 20 other states in seeking to have the Affordable Care Act declared unconstitutional. Hawley said the Affordable Care Act "was never constitutional", and spoke proudly of his involvement in the lawsuit. 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 were the lawsuit to succeed.
Hawley stated that human trafficking is the result of the American sexual revolution in the 1960s due to the social encouragement of premarital sex and the use of contraception. After receiving criticism for these statements, Hawley said that the Hollywood culture was a major cause of human trafficking.
Hawley supported Trump's separation of children from their parents who cross the border illegally, saying it was a matter of upholding law and order.
Hawley opposes abortion and has called for the appointment of "constitutionalist, pro-life judges" to the U.S. Supreme Court and other federal courts. 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.
Hawley believes that the appropriate place for sex is "within marriage". In December 2015, he supported exemptions for Missouri 'businesses and religions groups from participating in same-sex ... marriage ceremonies'.
In August 2019, Hawley introduced the Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology, or SMART, ACT, which would ban features, such as infinite scrolling and auto-play, that Hawley says are encouraging internet addiction.
Hawley supported Trump's imposition of trade tariffs. Hawley hopes that the tariffs will be temporary, eventually resulting in lower tariffs on US agriculture than before the trade battles. 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."
During his 2018 campaign, Hawley released his and his wife's tax returns and called on his opponent, Claire McCaskill, to release her and her husband's tax returns. McCaskill released her tax returns, which she files separately from her husband's. When asked if Hawley thought that President Trump should release his tax returns, Hawley did not say.
U.S. Supreme Court nominations
Hawley's first commercial in the 2018 Senate campaign focused on Brett Kavanaugh's nomination for the U.S. Supreme Court, which he supported. After Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault, Hawley staunchly defended Kavanaugh and said that Democrats had staged an "ambush" on him.
|Republican gain from Democratic|
|Democratic||Claire McCaskill (incumbent)||1,112,935||45.57%||-9.24%|
|Republican gain from Democratic|
Hawley is married to Erin Morrow Hawley, an associate professor of law at the University of Missouri. The Hawley family moved to Columbia, Missouri, in 2011. After becoming Attorney General of Missouri, Hawley also rented an apartment in Jefferson City following complaints that he was not abiding by a statutory residency requirement. The Hawleys and their two sons moved to Virginia after Hawley was elected to the U.S. Senate. Hawley was raised Methodist, but he and his family now attend an Evangelical Presbyterian Church, and he identifies as an Evangelical.
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- Hawley, Joshua David (2008). Theodore Roosevelt, Preacher of Righteousness. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300120103.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Josh Hawley|
- Official U.S. Senate website
- Campaign website
- Josh Hawley at Curlie
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
- Appearances on C-SPAN
|Party political offices|
| Republican nominee for Attorney General of Missouri
| Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Missouri|
| Attorney General of Missouri
| U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Missouri
Served alongside: Roy Blunt
| Baby of the Senate
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Senators by seniority