|Attorney General of Texas|
|December 2, 2002 - Present|
|Years in position||11|
|Predecessor||John Cornyn (R)|
|Elections and appointments|
|Last election||November 2, 2010|
|First elected||November 5, 2002|
|Next election||November 4, 2014|
|Texas Supreme Court|
|Bachelor's||University of Texas (1981)|
|J.D.||Vanderbilt University (1984)|
|Birthday||November 13, 1957|
|Place of birth||Wichita Falls, TX|
Abbott previously served on the Texas Supreme Court from 1995-2001, resigning in order to make his bid for attorney general. He is most well known for his role in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Van Orden v. Perry (2005), where he defended the constitutionality of the Ten Commandments monument that sits on the grounds of the Texas Capitol.
Considered a far-right conservative,  Abbott's campaign website identifies him as such, referring to the attorney general as "one of the nation’s leading advocates for stopping the federal overreach of the Obama Administration, a defender of the Constitution, and a conservative to the core." As Attorney General, Abbott has been involved in a number of high profile cases, notably the fight against Obamacare, which he has compared with the battle of the Alamo.
A February 2013 article in Governing named Abbott as one of the top state Republican officials to watch in 2013. He is considering a bid for governor in 2014, which could lead to a potential primary battle with incumbent Rick Perry.
Greg Abbot is a native Texan, born in Wichita Falls and raised in Duncanville. He attended the University of Texas for his undergraduate degree in finance, and then proceeded to earn his J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School. After graduation in 1984, Abbot began a legal career in the private sector.
Abbott initially entered the state political stage in Houston, where he was selected to serve as a state trial judge on the 129th District Court for three years beginning in 1993. He was then appointed by then-Governor George W. Bush to the Texas State Supreme Court, being subsequently elected to the post twice - first in 1996 to a two-year term and then again in 1998 for a six-year term. During this period, Abbott returned to private practice as an attorney for the law firm of Bracewell and Patterson Limited Liability Partnership.
Abbott's service in the Texas' legal arena earned him several titles of recognition, including Jurist of the Year Award from the Texas Review of Law and Politics, Trial Judge of the Year Award from the Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists, and Appellate Judge of the Year Award from the Texas Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates.
In addition to his professional duties, Abbott contributes his time and leadership skills to organizations and committees to which feels a personal connection through taking on various roles, including but not limited to:
- Honorary State Chairman, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Texas (2004)
- Former Member, Board of Advisors, Career and Recovery Resources Incorporated
- Member, Central Texas Chapter - Goodwill Industries
- Member, Justice for All
- Former Trustee, Texas Institute for Rehabilitation and Research Foundation
- Member, Governor's Committee to Promote Adoption
Shortly after graduating from law school, Abbott was jogging through River Oaks with a friend when a 75-foot oak tree snapped and fell on him, "breaking his back and some ribs." Even after multiple surgeries to repair the damage as best the doctors could do, he was still left partially paralyzed and forced to use a wheelchair to move around. Abbott went on to hire "Don Riddle, a well-regarded trial lawyer, to sue the homeowner and later the arborist," eventually agreeing "to an out-of-court settlement that would pay Abbott's current and future medical bills and compensate him for mental anguish and for some of the income he lost because of the accident."
It was reported that as of October 2002 Abbott had already received nearly $3 million of an award that is expected to exceed $10 million through the course of his lifetime. Riddle reportedly earned $1 million for the case and said that medical costs and other actual damages accounted for a fraction of the settlement, which mainly compensated Abbott for non-economic damages such as mental anguish. 
- Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree, University of Texas (1981) in Finance
- Juris Doctorate degree, Vanderbilt University Law School (1984)
Texas Attorney General (2002-present)
Abbott resigned from the State Supreme Court in 2001 to seek the open attorney general's seat up for election the next year. He was first voted to serve in the position in 2002 following the election of John Cornyn to the United States Senate, becoming only the second Republican to hold the office since Reconstruction. Abbott was reelected as the 50th Attorney General of Texas on November 2, 2010. Prior to his election as attorney general, Abbott served as a Justice on the Texas Supreme Court and as a State District Judge in Harris County. 
As the state's top law enforcer, Abbott established a Cyber Crimes United to arrest criminals who use the internet to prey upon children. Additionally, he helped create the Fugitive Unit to arrest sex offenders who violate their parole and expanded the Medicaid Fraud Control United, which cracks down on abuse of the elderly and waste of taxpayer dollars.
Texas v. Sony BMG Music Entertainment
On November 21, 2005, Abbott filed suit against Sony BMG Music Entertainment, marking Texas as the first state in the nation to bring legal action against Sony BMG for illegal 'spyware'. The controversy centered on the copy protection measures included by Sony BMG on compact discs starting in 2005. Sony BMG CDs embedded with these protection measures automatically installed software called a rootkit that created vulnerabilities for other malware to exploit when customers tried to play the compact discs on their computers. A month later, Abbott added new allegations to his lawsuit stating that the MediaMax copy protection technology violated the state's spyware and deceptive trade practices laws. He argued that even though Sony-BMG offered consumers a licensing agreement when they bought CDs and played them on their computers, spyware is secretly installed on their computers, posing security risks for music buyers, even if consumers reject the agreement. Abbott said "We keep discovering additional methods Sony used to deceive Texas consumers who thought they were simply buying music", and "Thousands of Texans are now potential victims of this deceptive game Sony played with consumers for its own purposes." In addition to violations of the Consumer Protection Against Computer Spyware Act of 2005, which allows for civil penalties of $100,000 for each violation of the law, the alleged violations added in the updated lawsuit, on December 21, 2005, carry maximum penalties of $20,000 per violation. 
Van Orden v. Perry (2005)
In 2002, Thomas Van Orden, a resident of Austin, sued the state of Texas in federal district court over a monument of the Ten Commandments located on the grounds of the state capitol building. He believed this to be a clear violation of "the First Amendment's establishment clause, which prohibits the government from passing laws 'respecting an establishment of religion'." The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit respectfully disagreed, ruling a year later that the "monument served a valid secular purpose and would not appear to a reasonable observer to represent a government endorsement of religion." Van Orden appealed the decision and on October 12, 2004, the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to hear the case. Attorney General of Texas Greg Abbott appeared before the high court on March 2, 2005, defending the state's Ten Commandments monument, a display that has stood on the state Capitol grounds, he noted, for more than forty years, and arguing that the grounds surrounding the capitol building contained 17 monuments and 21 historical markers commemorating the "people, ideals, and events that compose Texan identity" and that the Commandments were just one of them.
In a five-to-four decision delivered on June 27, 2005, the opinion of the Supreme Court, delivered by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, "deemed the Texas monument part of the nation's tradition of recognizing the Ten Commandments' historical meaning" and therefore was constitutional. Even the Ten Commandments are of a religious nature, simply having religious content or promoting a message in line with religious teachings, the court noted, "does not run afoul of the establishment clause." 
Justice Stephen Breyer, who served as the swing vote in the case, wrote: "The circumstances surrounding the monument's placement on the capitol grounds and its physical setting provide a strong, but not conclusive, indication that the Commandments' text as used on this monument conveys a predominantly secular message … The determinative factor here, however, is that 40 years passed in which the monument's presence, legally speaking, went unchallenged ... Those 40 years suggest more strongly than can any set of formulaic tests that few individuals ... are likely to have understood the monument as amounting ... to a government effort to establish religion." 
Hailing the Supreme Court's decision, Abbott said, "This is a great victory not just for Texans, but for all Americans. With this ruling, the United States Supreme Court has delivered a clear message that the Texas Ten Commandments can be displayed on public grounds in recognition of the historical role they have played in the foundation of this country and its laws." The Ten Commandments monument remains just northwest of the Capitol in Austin, Texas.
Abbott filed suit in federal court on February 16, 2010, to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from instituting regulation of greenhouse gases. The decision by the EPA to moderate the release of greenhouse gases was based on a finding conducted by the Obama administration that declared carbon dioxide is a danger to public health and that it contributes to global warming. Abbott, in conjunction with Governor Rick Perry, object to the move because it would place a tremendous financial burden on state businesses and homeowners, who were already under enough strain as result of the recession, and that it would jeopardize jobs. Both state officials believed that the finding was based on faulty science. 
Nearly two weeks after the United States Justice Department filed suit against the state of Arizona over its anti-illegal immigration law, Senate Bill 1070 - The Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (SB 1070), contending that it "interferes with federal immigration responsibilities," Abbott joined eight other Republican state attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in support of the measure.  
In the wake of the historic passage of President Barack Obama's healthcare reform legislation on Christmas Eve in 2009, Abbott was one of ten Republican Attorneys General questioning not only the constitutionality of a specific controversial provision within the Senate version of the bill, but also exploring potential legal challenges to the measure as well. The stipulation in question was the back room deal Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid struck with Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson to recruit him as the 60th vote needed to pass the measure, an arrangement "dubbed the 'Nebraska Compromise' or the 'Cornhusker Kickback' by Republican critics." The agreement gave Nebraska exemption from its share of the Medicaid expansion, "a carve out that is expected to cost the federal government $100 million over 10 years."  The Attorney General of Texas roundly criticized Senator Nelson's pact with Reid, calling it an "unprecedented and highly questionable backroom deal."  Nearly three months later, on the very night the United States House of Representatives narrowly approved the Senate reconciliation bill on health care reform by a vote of 219 - 212, Abbott posted on his Facebook page that he was "organizing a conference call tonight for AGs across the country. We will discuss our litigation strategy about the healthcare bill."  Two days later, shortly after President Barack Obama signed into law his controversial reform measure, Abbott and twelve other Attorneys General, all but one being Republican, filed suit against "the federal government to stop the massive health care overhaul, claiming it's unconstitutional."  In a written statement issued that same day, Abbott affirmed that he would do everything within his powers as state attorney general "to protect all Texans' constitutional rights, preserve the constitutional framework intended by our nation's founders, and defend our state from further infringement by the federal government." 
On June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to uphold the Affordable Care Act, with Chief Justice Roberts providing the deciding vote. The landmark decision was hailed as a victory by both ends of the political spectrum. Those who defended the President's healthcare overhaul from the beginning felt the ruling vindicated the President and the law against accusations of unconstitutionality; those who opposed the law, including the 26 attorneys general who instigated the legal challenge, felt likewise redeemed insofar as two key provisos determined by the Supreme Court as necessary to the overall preservation of the law. For one, the court ruled to limit the federal government's authority to require states to participate in the coming Medicaid expansion. Second, the individual mandate failed to stand up to constitutional vetting vis a vis the Commerce Clause, and therefore would survive in the form of a tax. The latter proviso struck at the heart of the lawsuit, leading Abbott to call the ruling a “total victory.” In a statement to the New York Times, Abbott said, “When the sun sets on this, one thing we know is that the Obama administration will scoff no more at the resolve and ability of state attorneys general."
Domestic partner benefits
On April 29, 2013, Abbot issued a legal opinion stating that domestic partner benefits offered by the city of Austin, Travis County, and area school districts are illegal under the Texas Constitution. Texas voters approved the constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions in 2005. According to Abbott's opinion, “By creating domestic partnerships and offering health benefits based on them, the political subdivisions have created and recognized something not established by Texas law.”
Attorney General opinions seek to determine how a court would rule on an issue, but the courts have final say on constitutional questions. To that end, lawyers for Austin and Travis County are deciding if the opinion should be followed. Travis County had offered domestic partner benefits for 16 years. It became an issue when state Sen. Dan Patrick (R) asked Abbott to look into the matter.
- See also: Texas gubernatorial election, 2014
- See also: Texas Attorney General election, 2010
- 2010 Race for Attorney General - Republican Primary
- Greg Abbott ran unopposed in this contest
|2010 Race for Attorney General - General Election |
|Republican Party||Greg Abbott||64.1%|
|Democratic Party||Barbara Ann Radnofsky||33.7%|
|Libertarian Party||Jon Roland||2.3%|
- 2006 Race for Attorney General - Republican Primary
- Greg Abbott ran unopposed in this contest
|2006 Race for Attorney General - General Election|
|Republican Party||Greg Abbott||59.5%|
|Democratic Party||David Van Os||37.2%|
|Libertarian Party||Jon Roland||3.3%|
- 2002 Race for Attorney General - Republican Primary
- Greg Abbott ran unopposed in this contest
|2002 Race for Attorney General - General Election|
|Republican Party||Greg Abbott||56.7%|
|Democratic Party||Kirk Watson||41.1%|
|Libertarian Party||Jon Roland||1.3%|
|Green Party||David Keith Cobb||0.9%|
Comprehensive donor information for Abbott is available dating back to 1996. Based on available campaign finance records, Abbott raised a total of $44,578,628 during that time period. This information was last updated on May 9, 2013.
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 Greg Abbott's donors each year. Click [show] for more information.
|Greg Abbott's Campaign Contributions|
Attorney General of Texas
Attorney General of Texas
Attorney General of Texas
|Total Raised by General Election Opponent||$1,135,031||$211,584||$5,381,746|
|Top 5 contributors||Bob and Doylene Perry||$150,000 each||Bob Perry||$220,265||Greg Abbott||$675,000|
|$125,000 each||Stevan Hammond||$150,000||Bob Perry||$387,000|
|Republican State Leadership Committee|
|$100,000 each||Boone Pickens, Jr.||$112,674||Texans for Lawsuit Reform||$350,000|
|Q Investments||$70,000||John Nau, III||$107,048||Albert Huddleston||$175,000|
|Dan Duncan||$56,472||Republican State Leadership Committee|
3 individual donors
|$100,000 each||Kenny Troutt||$175,000|
In light of the nearly $10 million settlement he is expected to receive throughout the course of his lifetime as a result of his injury, critics of the Attorney General of Texas argue that Abbott's claim of being a champion of tort reform is disingenuous, if not downright hypocritical. Abbott respectively disagreed. He noted that "the legal remedies available to him when the accident occurred are still available now [which,] if the accident happened the same way now ... it would probably result in the same kind of settlement." 
In late-August 2006, Justice Janis Graham Jack ordered Abbott's office to explain why a significant number of X-rays that were being used as evidence "in a federal investigation of potentially fraudulent silicosis lawsuits filed by alleged victims of the lung disease" were seized from a federal depository.  Armed law enforcement officers were reportedly issued by Abbott to take X-rays from the court-established depository two months earlier; Judge Janis Jack did not become aware of the move until July 5th.
An assistant for the Attorney General of Texas blamed the action on miscommunication, explaining that state prosecutors were acting in "pursuant to subpoenas signed by county judges," when, in fact, no such approval had been granted.  A lawyer for one of the defendants in the case, however, believes that the decision was made because "Texas officials were opposed to an order Judge Jack had issued calling for the X-rays to be moved from Texas to Jackson, Miss. to be closer to most of the plaintiffs and their lawyers." 
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Greg + Abbott + Texas + Attorney"
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on UN Arms Trade Treaty - AmmoLand.com (press release)
- Texas Twitter Tussle: Greg Abbott vs. the EPA - Houston Chronicle (blog)
- Greg Abbott praises court decision as victory for Texas fishermen - Examiner.com
- Freethought San Marcos: Texas Attorney General Abbott's 'demagoduery' - San Marcos Mercury
- A dozen or more Texas Senators were on hand in chambers as Senator Craig ... - Houston Chronicle
- Texas Attorney General's Office Wins National Award - News/Talk 790 KFYO
- Greg Abbott shuts down fraudulent immigration consultants - Examiner.com
- Ahead of Perry Decision, Abbott's Campaign is in Motion - Texas Tribune
- Spurs owner trumps Heat boss in political money - USA TODAY
- Texas redistricting 2013 - San Antonio Express
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Abbot and his wife, Cecilia, a former school teacher and principal, have been married for 30 years. They live in Austin with their daughter, Audrey.
Texas Attorney General
Post Office Box 12548
Austin, TX 78711-2548
Phone: (512) 463-2100
Toll Free Phone: (800) 252-8011
Fax: (800) 252-8011
- Official Attorney General of Texas website
- Greg Abbott's Facebook page
- Greg Abbott's Twitter account
- Greg Abbott for Attorney General Campaign website
- Project Vote Smart - Greg Abbott biography
- Campaign contributions: 2012, 2010, 2008, 2006, 2004, 2002, 1998, 1996
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 The Oyez Project - Van Orden v. Perry summary
- ↑ The Guardian, "Does Texas need a more conservative governor? Greg Abbott sure thinks so," January 31, 2013
- ↑ The Statesman, "Abbott trumpeting his conservative credentials," April 30, 2013
- ↑ Greg Abbott, " Bio," accessed June 10, 2013
- ↑ Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, "Abbott compares fight against Obamacare to Alamo," September 5, 2012
- ↑ Governing, "State Republican Officials to Watch in 2013," February 6, 2013
- ↑ Houston Chronicle, "Strong fundraising by Rick Perry, Greg Abbott fuels speculation about 2014 campaign," August 20, 2012
- ↑ Greg Abbott Bio
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Texas Weekly "Greg Abbott as Plaintiff" 18 Feb. 2002
- ↑ Greg Abbott Bio
- ↑ New York Times "Sony BMG Sued Over CD's With Anti-Piracy Software" 22 Nov. 2005
- ↑ Cornell University Law School - Van Orden v. Perry: Breyer concurrence
- ↑ The Statesman "Texas sues to stop EPA from regulating greenhouse gases" 16 Feb. 2010
- ↑ FOX News "Justice Department Files Suit Against Arizona Immigration Law" 6 July, 2010
- ↑ Houston Conservative Examiner "Rick Perry and Bill White weigh in on justice department lawsuit and Arizona's immigration law" 16 July, 2010
- ↑ Politico "GOP AGs may sue over health bill" 24 Dec. 2009
- ↑ The Dallas Morning News "With health care fight, Abbott again takes on D.C." 26 March, 2010
- ↑ National Review Online - The Corner "AGs vs. HCR?" 21 March, 2010
- ↑ Associated Press "13 attorneys general sue over health care overhaul" 23 March, 2010
- ↑ The Dallas Morning News "Abbott vows to challenge legislation in lawsuit" 23 March, 2010
- ↑ The National Law Journal, "Health care ruling: the professional judgments," July 2, 2012
- ↑ The New York Times, "For attorneys general, health care law longshot brings payoffs," June 30, 2012
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 Austin American-Statesman, "Domestic partner benefits violate same-sex ban, attorney general rules," April 29, 2013
- ↑ Associated Press, "Dad: George P. Bush eyeing Texas land commissioner," November 14, 2012
- ↑ National Journal, "Report: Abbott to run for Texas governor," January 11, 2013
- ↑ Texas Secretary of State - 2010 General Election Results
- ↑ Follow the Money, " Career fundraising for Greg Abbott," accessed May 9, 2013
- ↑ Follow the Money.org
- ↑ Dallas Morning News "Federal judge orders Abbott to explain X-ray evidence seizure" 24 Aug. 2006
- ↑ The New York Sun "Prosecutors Apologize For X-Ray Seizure" 11 Sept. 2006
- ↑ The New York Sun "Silicosis Judge Erupts in Fury In Case of the Missing X-Rays" 18 Aug. 2006
John Cornyn (R)
|Attorney General of Texas
| Succeeded by|