I’ve spent a good part of my working life contemplating the importance of the rule of law in making America the most prosperous society in the history. First as an public official (Mayor of Cincinnati, Treasurer and Secretary of State) and now as a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and American Civil Rights Union, I’ve come to believe that none of the many factors that contribute to our astonishing prosperity is more important than the rule of law over the rule of special interests. Healthy capitalism depends on the predictable enforcement of contracts and even-handed application of the law. Replace that fair enforcement with outrageous damages awards for trial lawyers or sweet-heart deals for unions, and you’ll eventually ruin the marketplace. That is the rule of special interests over the rule of law, and it is a real and present danger across our country today.
Which is why I think the race for Missouri’s next attorney general is so important – and why Josh Hawley is the clear choice for Missouri Republicans.
It is the job of the attorney general to ensure that Missouri’s laws and constitution are faithfully—and fairly—executed, with favoritism to none. The attorney general must also be the kind of person that voters can be assured has the character to follow the law himself. He or she must have the self-restraint never to politicize the law or office.
I have no doubt that Josh Hawley will be that kind of attorney general for Missouri. He knows something about defending the rule of law. Josh is a constitutional lawyer by trade. He has litigated in federal and state courts across the country. He has served as senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the nation’s top religious-freedom law firm, and as a professor of constitutional law at the University of Missouri. A graduate of Stanford and the Yale Law School, he is a former clerk to Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge Michael W. McConnell of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
A resume is one thing. A record is another. Hawley has both. He has litigated in defense of business and agriculture and everyday Americans in courts across the country. He has litigated at the U.S. Supreme Court and won. Won big cases. His cases at the Supreme Court include two of the most significant religious liberty victories in recent U.S. history – the successful challenge to the Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate on business, Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby, and a case that that guaranteed the right of churches and faith groups to choose their ministers according to their religious convictions, Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC. Josh’s cases share a common theme: standing up for the rule of law, whether it’s contract law or the Religious Freedom Restoration Act or the Constitution of the United States.
Elections, of course, are about contrasts, and Hawley’s opponent for the Republican nomination raises some serious concerns. During his time in office, State Sen. Kurt Schaefer has accepted $136,500 from Missouri trial attorneys. That includes $10,750 directly from the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys’ political action committee and $117,600 from firms affiliated with current or former members of the group’s board of governors.
Schaefer has consistently favored the special interests over the rule of law. Earlier this year, for example, he personally filibustered a modest bill in the Missouri legislature to curb frivolous lawsuits. When he was not leading filibusters to kill lawsuit reform, he was voting against them.
Meanwhile, Schaefer has taken another $30,396 from unions. In fact, Senator Schaefer was endorsed by both the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO, even as the AFL-CIO funneled thousands upon thousands of dollars to Planned Parenthood.
Schaefer’s record just drives home the point: Missouri voters have a special opportunity in voting to make in Josh Hawley their next attorney general. By casting a vote for Josh, they can vote for the rule of law—the very foundation of our economy, our freedoms, and our republic.