Bill Schuette

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William Duncan "Bill" Schuette
Bill Schuette.JPG
Attorney General of Michigan
In office
2011 - Present
Term ends
January 2019
Years in position 4
PredecessorMike Cox (R)
Base salary$112,410
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2014
First electedNovember 2, 2010
Campaign $$3,034,341
Term limitsTwo terms
Prior offices
Michigan State Senate
Michigan Director of Agriculture
U.S. House of Representatives
High schoolHerbert Henry Dow High School (1972)
Bachelor'sGeorgetown University (1976)
J.D.University of San Francisco School of Law (1979)
Date of birthOctober 13, 1953
Place of birthMidland, Michigan
Office website
Campaign website
William Duncan "Bill" Schuette (born October 13, 1953, in Midland, Michigan) is the current Republican Attorney General of Michigan. Prior to this, he was an attorney and a former justice on the Michigan Fourth District Court of Appeals.

Schuette ran for re-election as attorney general in the 2014 elections.[1] Bill Schuette won the general election on November 4, 2014. His campaign was focused on fighting against human trafficking, protecting pensions for retirees in Detroit and pursuing legal action against the Affordable Care Act. Learn more about Schuette's campaign priorities in the campaign themes section.


Schuette is a native of Midland, Mich., and has had a long career in the public eye. His career started when he was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1980s. He ran for the U.S. Senate in 1990. Following his loss in that election, he was appointed Michigan Director of Agriculture. In 1994, he was elected to the Michigan State Senate. He was selected by George W. Bush to be a representative to Australia in May of 2001 for the Australian-American Friendship week. Following his six years as a judge on Michigan's Court of Appeals, he worked for a private legal practice with the law firm of Warner, Norcross & Judd, where he served as senior counsel.[2]

Schuette has also served in the following roles:

  • Board member, Education Freedom Fund
  • Member, Board of Trustees - Albion College
  • Member, Visiting Committee - Gerald R. Ford Institute at Albion College
  • Trustee, Elsa U. Pardee Foundation
  • Vice President, Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation

Schuette received the Public Servant of the Year Award (2008) from the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police.


  • Graduated from Herbert Henry Dow High School (1972)
  • Bachelor's degree in foreign service - Georgetown University (1976) (cum laude)
  • Juris Doctorate - University of San Francisco School of Law (1979)[3]

Political career

Michigan Attorney General (2011-Present)

On September 19, 2009, Schuette announced his candidacy for the statewide office of attorney general, the seat being vacated by Mike Cox, who was barred by state term limit laws from running for a third consecutive term in office.[4] Schuette secured the Republican nomination at the State Party Convention on Friday, August 28, 2010 by a delegate vote of 1,072 to 971 over State Senator Mike Bishop.[5] He went on to defeat Democratic challenger, David Leyton, in the general election on Tuesday, November 2 after receiving 52 percent of the vote.[6]


Schuette, a long time opponent of medical marijuana, made his feelings clear regarding a bill to decriminalize marijuana that was introduced in 2013 by state Rep. Jeff Irwin (D). Schuette stated, "We should not go down this road of legalizing drugs. It exposes young kids, children, to ever more potent drug use and I think that's not good for them in the future."[7]

Recall effort

Protestors at a pro-medical marijuana rally on September 7, 2011, called for the recall of Schuette because of his support for laws they believed would hurt the ability of patients to access marijuana.[8] That same day, the Midland County Election Commission approved the recall language submitted by petitioner Richard C. Clement Sr., who said Schuette failed to uphold some provisions of the state Medical Marihuana Act. The law was passed by 63 percent of the voters in 2008.[9]

Clement had 180 days to gather 807,000 valid signatures in order to put a recall election on the ballot. All signatures had to be collected during a 90-day period.[10] A substantial recall effort never materialized.

Birth control mandate

Schuette responded to the Obama administration's mandate that the majority of employers include birth control coverage in their health plans by calling it an attack on religious liberty. He made plans to sue the administration on February 10, 2012, and named himself leader in the nation's attorneys general efforts to file briefs in support of lawsuits filed by the conservative religious rights group Becket Fund for Religious Liberty against the new insurance requirement.[11]

Michigan Court of Appeals Judge (2002-2009)

In 2002, Schuette was elected to serve as a judge on the Michigan Fourth District Court of Appeals. He remained there until 2009, when he quietly let his term expire in order to establish his campaign for state attorney general.[12]

Michigan State Senate (1994-2002)

Schuette was elected in 1994 to serve as a Republican member of the Michigan State Senate, representing the state's thirty-fifth senate district; he remained in office for eight years. As a state senator, he worked with a number of legislative committees, among them the Judiciary Committee, the Technology and Energy Committee, and the Gaming and Casino Oversight Committee. In addition to those committees, he served as chairman of both the Economic Development Committee as well as the Reapportionment Committee.

Michigan Agricultural Commissioner (1991-1994)

Republican Governor John Engler appointed Schuette as director of the state's agricultural department in 1991. It was during this time that he and his wife, Cynthia, founded the Michigan Harvest Gathering, a food and fund drive to help feed hungry people throughout the state, which, in conjunction with the Food Bank Council of Michigan, raised more than $4.9 million and seven million pounds of food for Michigan families over a period of 15 years.

U.S. House of Representatives (1985-1991)

Five years after receiving his law degree, Schuette was elected to the United States House of Representatives, representing the state of Michigan's tenth congressional district; he replaced Democratic incumbent Donald J. Albosta. During his six year tenure in office, he served on the House Budget Committee, the House Agriculture Committee, and the House Select Committee on Aging. Additionally, between 1987 and 1989, Schuette sponsored 11 bills, none of which made it out of committee or were successfully enacted; he co-sponsored 308 bills also during this time period.[13] In 1991, he was unsuccessful in his attempts to unseat Democratic incumbent Carl Levin in the United States Senate.



See also: Michigan attorney general election, 2014

Schuette ran for re-election to a second term as attorney general in 2014. He faced Democrat Mark Totten and three minor party challengers in the general election.[14] The general election took place November 4, 2014.


Attorney General of Michigan, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngBill Schuette Incumbent 52.1% 1,603,471
     Democratic Mark Totten 44.2% 1,359,839
     Libertarian Justin Altman 1.9% 57,345
     U.S. Taxpayers Gerald T. Van Sickle 1% 30,762
     Green John Anthony La Pietra 0.8% 25,747
Total Votes 3,077,164
Election Results via Michigan Department of State.


Schuette received endorsements from the Detroit Police Officers Association and the Retired Detroit Police and Firefighters Association prior to the general election. Both groups pointed to Schuette's defense of their pensions during Detroit's bankruptcy proceedings.[15]

Campaign themes

Schuette's campaign website listed the following themes for the 2014 race:

Justice for Rape Victims

For thousands of victims of the horrible crime of rape, justice has been terribly delayed, and completely denied.

Shortly after taking office as Attorney General, Bill Schuette learned that thousands of samples of DNA evidence taken from rape victims were stocked in a warehouse, having never been tested – meaning those who committed these crimes were still on the streets, likely thousands of serial rapists raping again.

Bill fought to secure state funding to test the evidence kits and the Attorney General’s office will support local police and prosecutors to find the rapists and deliver justice to the victims at last.

Ending the Tragedy of Human Trafficking

It’s a horrifying nightmare we can’t ignore: human trafficking. It’s a familiar story: young run-aways kidnapped and forced into a life of sexual slavery, brutalized by their pimps, and treated as criminals by law enforcement.

Not anymore. Attorney General Bill Schuette is cracking down on this tragedy, and for the first time we’re treating these people as the victims they truly are, and not as criminals. Meanwhile, the pimps and abusers are being sent to prison under new a law that helps protect our children from these predators.

This new approach to the fight against human trafficking will bring these victims out of the shadows, and bring an end to the horror of this sickening crime.

Protecting Detroit Retirees - and the Constitution

Detroit’s descent into bankruptcy threatened the pensions of the cops and fire fighters who risked their lives to protect us with deep cuts. But Michigan’s constitution protects the pensions of public employees. These retirees had worked long careers in dangerous and demanding jobs, and now they were poised to become victims of the incompetence and corruption of Detroit’s officials.

So Attorney General Bill Schuette immediately intervened in bankruptcy court and fought to guarantee the protection our constitution offers.

Bill stood against his own party on the issue, but people come before politics, and Bill isn’t the kind of Attorney General who picks and chooses which parts of the constitution to defend.

Fighting Violent Crime

It’s no secret that too many of Michigan’s cities are awash in violent crime, and that local police forces have been decimated by Michigan’s two decades of recession. That’s why Bill Schuette proposed hiring 1,000 new cops, to support local law enforcement in restoring order.

Bill also secured passage of a new law requiring a 25-year minimum mandatory sentence for repeat violent felons. No more will Michigan play “catch and release” with murderers and rapists.

Fighting ObamaCare

The bureaucratic bungling caused by Obamacare has already caused Michigan residents to be victims of broken promises: families who lost insurance coverage they liked, the thousands of small businesses facing skyrocketing health care costs, and the many more that will be punished with a mandate tax they can’t afford.

Bill Schuette has been fighting the catastrophic side effects of Obamacare in the courts every step of the way, and he’s also worked to prevent many more from becoming victims of this disastrous law.

Shockingly, although ObamaCare funds thousands of so-called “Navigators” to help people with applying for coverage, the law never required that these workers submit to a criminal background check. These workers will have access to people’s most personal information, yet they might have lengthy criminal records.

Bill is taking action, working to make sure the organizations deploying these Navigators do the right thing, and properly background check these workers, before someone becomes the victim of identity theft – or far worse.

Justice for the Victims of Tainted Drugs

In search of pain relief, thousands of Michigan citizens ordered steroid medication from a compounding pharmacy in Connecticut. Rather than finding relief, they found themselves in unbearable pain, and many even died, as the pharmacy had sent drugs that were tainted with meningitis.

Attorney General Schuette empaneled a grand jury to investigate and consider criminal charges, and he later joined a joint investigation with the U.S. District Attorney in Connecticut.

Bill wants to send a strong message that Michigan won’t tolerate that kind of criminal negligence that victimizes those who already so vulnerable. [16]

—Bill Schuette's campaign website, (2014) [17]


See also: Michigan Attorney General election, 2010

At the State Republican Party Convention on Friday, August 28, 2010, Bill Schuette secured the nomination over Mike Bishop by a delegate vote of 1,072 to 971.[5]

MDP attack ad

The Michigan Democratic Party released an online advertisement in May 2010 attacking Schuette, Republican candidate for state attorney general, who had not yet secured the nomination of the Republican Party. The ad attempted to link the former state senator with the Big Oil industry and, in effect, the BP offshore oil rig disaster because during his tenure in the state legislature he sponsored and voted in favor of legislation that would allow for drilling in the Great Lakes.[18][19]

Critics argued, however, that the video distorted what the content of the measure. Although the legislation did allow for drilling in the region, "the vote in question was not for drilling in the lakes but rather under it... From shore."[20]

2010 Race for Attorney General - General Election[21]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Bill Schuette 52.3%
     Democratic Party David Leyton 43.5%
     Libertarian Party Daniel W. Grow 2.3%
     U.S. Taxpayers Gerald Van Sickle 1.9%
Total Votes 3,136,224


  • Bill Schuette ran unopposed in this contest
1998 Race for State Senate, District 35 - General Election[23]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Bill Schuette 70.4%
     Democratic Party Brian Baldwin 29.6%
Total Votes 87,410

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Schuette is available dating back to 1998. Based on available campaign finance records, Schuette raised a total of $3,034,341 during that time period. This information was last updated on July 12, 2013.[24]

Bill Schuette's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Attorney General of Michigan Not up for election $549,902
2010 Attorney General of Michigan Won $2,203,755
2000 Michigan State Senate District 53 Not up for election $75,022
1998 Michigan State Senate District 53 Won $205,662
Grand Total Raised $3,034,341

1998 and 2010

Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Bill Schuette's donors each year.[25] Click [show] for more information.

Notable cases as appellate court judge

Ballot initiative fails

Chief Judge William Whitbeck and Judges Patrick Meter and Bill Schuette determined that the proposal from Reform Michigan Government Now was "an illegal attempt to enact a general revision of the state constitution." According to the Detroit Free Press, "A sweeping proposal led by Michigan Democrats and labor unions to rewrite much of the Michigan Constitution appears dead after a court ruling August 20, 2008."[26]

Court upholds injury law

The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that schools, churches, camps and other businesses that provide recreational services can still be held liable for a child's injury even if parents signed a waiver. Based on Michigan law, the court determined that a pre-injury waiver would be worthless if a child were hurt and the parents wanted to sue. According to the Detroit Free Press, those offering recreational services believe the ruling will likely increase insurance rates. "The court acknowledges the decision could make it tougher to do business. While this ruling has significant and far-reaching implications regarding ... organizations and businesses providing valuable services and activities for minor children, and has the potential to increase litigation and impact the availability of programs to younger members of the community, we have no alternative but to recognize the current status of our law and follow its precepts," the three-member panel ruled. The decision, by Judges Richard Bandstra, Michael Talbot and Bill Schuette said, "The decision in this case is important because it serves as an affirmation of the priority we place on the protection of the health and well-being of our children" the court noted.[27]

Artist wins First Amendment case

In a two-to-one decision reversing a lower court's misdemeanor conviction, Judges William B. Murphy and Michael Smolenski determined "'Prohibiting lettering completely appears to be an excessive restriction compared to the interests sought to be advanced," the appeals says in its ruling. "Indeed, it does not appear the word 'Love' on the mural would district motorists or distract from the aesthetic value of the neighborhood. The judges say the variance "was an unconstitutional regulation of speech, infringing on defendant's First Amendment protections.'" Artist Edward Stross benefited from the ruling that overturns his 2005 conviction. He had been convicted for violating a zoning variance, according to The Macomb Daily. Judge Bill Schuette dissented, writing the mural is not protected by the right to free speech because he considers it to be an "advertisement" or "commercial speech...Although not selling anything directly, the mural gives credibility to Stross as an artist. The obvious economic motivation for the mural is to draw attention to defendant's talent in hope of attracting persons in need of an artist's service," Schuette says.[28]

Court rules in absentee ballot suit

The appellate court ruled that state election law does not give election clerks the authority to mail unsolicited applications for absentee ballots, according to Michigan Life. Further, Judges Donald Owens, Patrick Meter and Bill Schuette wrote that "mailing the applications to only those 60 and older 'undermines the fairness and evenhandedness of the application of election laws in this state.'" Carmella Sabaugh, whose name will appear on the ballot in the 2008 election, had been mailing absentee ballot applications in 2006. According to the article, "The court said Sabaugh did not mail applications to other groups of people who can qualify for absentee ballots such as those who need assistance at the polls, are out of town on Election Day or cannot attend the polls because of religious reasons."[29]

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Schuette and his wife, Cynthia Grebe, have two children, Heidi and Billy.[3]

Contact Information

Capitol Address:
Office of Attorney General
110 State Office Building
305 Lundington
Escanaba, MI 49829


Phone: (906) 786-0169
Fax: (906) 786-6445

See also

External links


  1. The Detroit News, "Peters 'considering' run for Levin's seat as 5 GOP members drop out," March 8, 2013 (dead link) (dead link)
  2. Michigan Attorney General's Official Website Biography of Attorney General Bill Schuette, accessed October 16, 2012
  3. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named bio
  4. Michigan Redneck, "Bill Schuette Launches Campaign to be Michigan’s Attorney General" 19 Sept. 2009
  5. 5.0 5.1 Detroit Free Press, "Attorney edges out Mike Bishop in attorney general nomination" 28 Aug. 2010
  6. Detroit Free Press, "Schuette defeats Leyton after leading in polls all the way" 3 Nov. 2010
  7. WILX, "Attorney General Opposes Bill Decriminalizing Marijuana," April 24, 2013
  8. Lansing State Journal, "Medical marijuana rally attendees call for recall of Attorney General Bill Schuette," September 7, 2011
  9. Midland Daily News, "Recall petitions against Moolenaar, Schuette OK'd," September 8, 2011
  10. MLive, "Two petitioners jump-start recall against Midland state leaders after two prior tries failed," September 8, 2011
  11. Detroit Free Press, "Michigan AG joins lawsuits against Obama's contraception mandate," February 10, 2012
  12. The Oakland Press, "What Is Bill Schuette Up To?" 14 March, 2008
  13. - Bill Schuette profile
  14. Michigan Department of State, "2014 Official Michigan General Candidate Listing," accessed October 27, 2014
  15. The Detroit News, "Milliken endorses Totten in AG’s race," September 18, 2014
  16. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  17. Bill Schuette for Attorney General, "Getting Results," accessed September 22, 2014
  18. YouTube, "Bill Schuette on Duty...for Big Oil" 24 May, 2010
  19. Michigan Liberal, "MDP goes after Bill Schuette" 24 May, 2010
  20. Right Michigan, "Schuette Draws Dem Attacks Early" 11 june, 2010
  21. Michigan Department of State - 2010 General Election Results
  22. Department of State - 1998 Primary Election Results
  23. Department of State - 1998 General Election Results
  24. Follow the Money, "Career fundraising for William (Bill) D. Schuette," accessed July 12, 2013
  25. Follow the, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015
  26. Detroit Free Press
  27. Court rules against parents and businesses
  28. The Macomb Daily (dead link)
  29. Court rules against clerk in absentee ballot suit

Political offices
Preceded by
Mike Cox (R)
Michigan Attorney General
Succeeded by