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John Hill for the State of Texas

By John L. Hill Jr. and Ernie Stromberger; Foreword by John Cornyn

Publication Year: 2008

Find out more about this title here: http://johnhillfortexas.com/   During his distinguished career, John L. Hill Jr. served as secretary of state, attorney general, and chief justice of the state supreme court—the only person to hold all three state offices.   Hill's office played a significant role in vastly expanding Texas consumer protections, waging war against wholesale rate increases by AT&T/Southwestern Bell; and resolving the disposition of Howard Hughes's fabled estate to bring tens of millions of dollars into Texas coffers.   Before Hill's death in July 2007, Ernie Stromberger, journalist and Hill's longtime friend, worked with him to craft this first-person narrative.

Published by: Texas A&M University Press


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pp. v

List of Illustrations andPhotographs

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

Twenty years after he served as attorney general, John Hill’s legacy remained so singular that he was at the top of my list of resources to contact when I decided to seek election to that office in 1998. Although he was a Democrat and I was hoping to become the first Republican attorney general of Texas since Reconstruction, the luster of competence and...

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pp. xiii-xvi

Had he not died unexpectedly in July 2007, John Hill would have written John wanted to write this book about his years as attorney general because he considered those the most exciting and fulfilling in his long and active life. Those years, to John, meant more than his success in the 1950s and 1960s as one of the state’s most respected trial attorneys, his two ...

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pp. xvi-xvii

John was indebted, as am I, to all of the assistants who worked for John whose names appear in the book, and several whose names do not appear. Their ready cooperation as sources and manuscript reviewers reflects their respect for John as an inspirational leader, a supportive boss, and a phenomenal lawyer...

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An Introduction to My Mentor

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pp. xix-xxii

My first day on the job for John Hill was also his first day in office. I reported to his seventh-floor conference room for the kickoff meeting of all division chiefs and assistant chiefs—I was assistant chief of the then Consumer Protection and Anti-Trust Division—only to find my way blocked by the guardian of the inner sanctum, a veteran employee who had...

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(1)Riding Sharpstown to Victory

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pp. 1-16

In 1972, I knew I could rebuild the Texas attorney general’s office into a legal powerhouse by attracting sharp young lawyers eager for a new challenge. The only obstacle standing in my path was an attorney general who wasn’t ready to retire...

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(2)Reforming Consumer Protections

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pp. 17-33

Frank Sharp not only pushed me over the finish line in the attorney general’s race. He also turned my otherwise “pumpkin” consumer protection proposals into one of the Cinderella’s coaches of the legislative session of 1973...

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(3)Cleaning Up the HoustonShip Channel

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pp. 34-57

While my consumer protection proposals leaped from the starting blocks and quickly achieved a stunning victory, my environmental protection proposals enjoyed no such easy and overwhelming success. Like consumer protection laws, pollution controls were out of favor with the business leaders whose lock on political campaign funding sources ensured their ...

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(4)Beating theSouthwestern Bell Goliath

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pp. 58-88

The timidity of state and local governments’ attempts to control polluters in Texas in the early 1970s was, by comparison with their control of the telephone company monopoly, fiercely aggressive. Texas was the only state without a public utility commission to regulate phone rates. That left regulation of local rates to cities. All but a few of the largest cities lacked ...

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(5)Corralling MaverickChild Care Home Operators

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pp. 89-115

I focused on consumer and environmental protection during my first year as attorney general because the abuses in those areas cried out for attention but were ignored by our state’s leaders in deference to business lobbyists. I quickly learned there were other abuses that also cried out for attention but simply were not heard because they could not compete against all the ...

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(6)Attacking Corruptionin Duval County

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pp. 116-140

When I raised organized crime as an issue in my campaign for attorney general, I envisioned creating a task force to coordinate with state and local law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute sophisticated crime syndicates like the Mafia. To my surprise, the largest nexus of organized criminal activity to demand my office’s resources was operated by ...

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(7)Fighting California and Nevadafor Howard Hughes’s Estate Taxes

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pp. 141-164

The Howard Hughes case provided a major test of my determination to replace the passive reputation of the attorney general’s office with a dynamic culture that attracted talented lawyers capable of holding their own The Hughes empire had been represented by the powerhouse firm of Andrews, Kurth, Campbell, and Jones, then a seventy-five-year-old...

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(8)Defending the Death Penalty

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pp. 165-190

Some Texas attorneys general regarded a U.S. Supreme Court argument as an assignment best filled by subordinates or special counsel. My reaction was the opposite. The prospect of arguing a case before the high court stimulated my competitive instincts as much as the Super Bowl fires the ambitions of a National Football League coach or player. I viewed the ...

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(9)Managing the Reform of Prisonsand Youth Detention Schools

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pp. 191-214

When I included in my death penalty argument before the Supreme Court of the United States a reminder to the justices they were not a “super- legislature,” I was referring to more than just Texas’ death penalty laws, and I was referring to more than just the Supreme Court. I was also expressing my frustration and concern over federal judges’ newfound...

Appendix 1

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pp. 215-217

Appendix 2

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pp. 218-222


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pp. 223-248


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pp. 249-250


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pp. 251-256

E-ISBN-13: 9781603443494
E-ISBN-10: 1603443495
Print-ISBN-13: 9781603440721
Print-ISBN-10: 1603440720

Page Count: 280
Illustrations: Index.
Publication Year: 2008