Home » Sen. Hawley accuses local reporter of ‘misogyny’ when he mentions his wife’s involvement in Supreme Court case

Sen. Hawley accuses local reporter of ‘misogyny’ when he mentions his wife’s involvement in Supreme Court case

by Mahmmod Shar

Hawley’s wife Erin works as senior counsel to the appellate team at the Alliance Defending Freedom, which recently celebrated a Supreme Court victory

By Yael Halon

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., accused a local NBC affiliate journalist of “misogyny” during a tense exchange on Wednesday after the reporter noted that Hawley’s wife worked on the legal team that represented the Christian graphic designer at the center of a recent Supreme Court landmark ruling.

Video obtained by Fox News Digital showed Mark Maxwell, the political editor for St. Louis’ KSDK News, ask Hawley for his reaction to the Supreme Court ruling which upheld Colorado graphic designer Lorie Smith’s legal challenge to the state’s anti-discrimination law. Smith was represented by the conservative legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom, where Hawley’s wife Erin works as senior counsel to the appellate team. 

“We haven’t been able to hear from you since the Supreme Court made a number of rulings, we know your interests sitting on the Judiciary Committee, there was this one coming from Colorado where a graphic designer—your wife is supposedly involved in this case—helping to bring that lawsuit through Alliance Defending Freedom,” Maxwell began during the remote taped interview.

The journalist proceeded to ask the senator whether he believes the Christian legal group that employs his wife has “credibility” issues, citing reports that the customer named in the lawsuit as requesting the same-sex wedding website appeared to be fake.

“So what, you’re asking me now about my wife’s case?” Hawley responded. “Is that the deal, Mark?

“Right, but a case you’ve commented on, a case that’s of significant importance to the country,” Maxwell replied.

Hawley, who has clashed with Maxwell in the past, said the journalist was trying to “rope my wife” into the interview before defending his wife’s professional credibility.

“My wife is a working professional. She is an attorney who is every bit if not more qualified than me, and you can ask her if you want to ask questions. Let’s not try and use my wife as a political ploy, Mark,” the senator said.

Josh Hawley and Erin Hawley
Josh Hawley, along with his wife, Erin Hawley, salutes the crowd after delivering his victory speech during his election night watch party at the University Plaza Hotel and Conference Center on November 6, 2018 in Springfield, Missouri. ((Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images))

Maxwell said it was not intended as “a political ploy at all,” and began repeating his question before Hawley interjected, “Here’s the deal. Let me just set you straight on this and help you get it through your head.”

“My wife doesn’t work for me. I’m not the spokesperson for my wife, and you know why? Because my wife has her own career, she’s got her own job, she’s a lawyer in her own right. So if you want comments from my wife, you can reach out to her,” Hawley said. “But don’t come to me and ask me to comment on my wife and speak for my wife.”

The senator then accused Maxwell of being “misogynistic.”

“I’m not surprised you’re doing it, but it’s disgraceful… you ought to be ashamed,” Hawley said. 

Maxwell argued that the senator was misframing his question.

josh hawley campaigning with eric hawley
Missouri’s Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Josh Hawley waits in line with his wife, Erin Hawley, to casts their votes on election day at The Crossings Church on November 6, 2018 in Columbia, Missouri.  ((Photo by Michael Thomas/Getty Images))

“Oh no I’m not, You asked me to comment on my wife’s work. You asked me about Alliance Defending Freedom where my wife works. I am not my wife’s minder. My wife is not a minion who works for me,” Hawley fired back. “So if you want to ask her someone who is an incredibly accomplished attorney and has argued cases all over this country in federal courts, I am incredibly proud of her, don’t try to denigrate her work by coming to me and saying oh well you come in, you clean it up, you say this or that.”

When Maxwell suggested they move on from the question to complete the interview, Hawley responded, “Let’s not move on from your misogyny, Mark.

“I just want it noted that I’m gonna call you out on this every single time that you’re misogynistic,” the senator continued. “Every time that you try to imply that my wife somehow answers for me or that I should be the spokesperson for my wife or that there is some issue with my wife’s litigation…I am going to call you out on it every single time. So just mark it down that I’m not going to allow this to pass. I think that it is grossly inappropriate, I think it is grossly misogynistic and if you think you can get away with it just because she’s a conservative and is married to me, you are absolutely dead wrong.”

The exchange marked the end of the interview.

Maxwell tweeted about his conversation with the senator later Wednesday with a link to an AP report titled “Legitimacy of ‘customer’ in Supreme Court gay rights case raises ethical and legal flags.”

“Instead of engaging the question about pretty glaring errors winding up in significant cases before the Supreme Court, Hawley had a meltdown and suggested I was asking him to speak for his wife. I wasn’t. I was asking a sitting member of the Judiciary Committee about his job,” Maxwell wrote.

Hawley’s communications director, Abigail Marone fired back, arguing that Maxwell was pushing “debunked lefty talking points.”

“No, Mark. You brought up Josh’s wife, Erin. Then you repeated a bunch of debunked lefty talking points and asked a question about the organization where Erin works. You must be forgetting we have this on tape,” Marone tweeted.

“Hardly think the recorded statements of people in the court record are ‘lefty talking points.’ As the tape will show (whenever you send it over), I asked the Senator to respond to credibility issues raised in the AP report, and how errors could arrive at the Supreme Court at all,” Maxwell replied.

Maxwell’s question centered around reports that a customer requesting a same-sex wedding mentioned in court filings appeared to be fake, which according to an NBC News article, prompted “complaints on social media that the case should never have made it as far as the Supreme Court, with many arguing that Smith didn’t have legal standing to bring the case if there weren’t any customers seeking her services.”

The Alliance Defending Freedom shot down the allegations circulating in the press, hailing the Court’s ruling a “landmark victory for free speech.”

Kristen Waggoner, Smith’s attorney, and Erin Hawley personally dismissed the premise of the allegations in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Tuesday writing, “The permanent political campaign against the Supreme Court has expanded to target successful litigants…some on the left—including many in the press—have responded with a disinformation effort against Ms. Smith.”

“This is nonsense, and Mr. Katyal should know better. It’s undisputed and electronic records confirm that Ms. Smith received the request from a third party in September 2016—the day after she filed her lawsuit. A party has to have legal standing when he files a case, so it would make no sense to invent such claims the day after the suit began. Though the request appears to have come from a troll, perhaps falsely using Stewart’s name and number, that doesn’t change the fact that Ms. Smith received it.”

Sen. Josh Hawley
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., questions Colleen Shogan, nominee to be archivist of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration about her social media postings, during the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee full committee hearing on Shogan’s nomination on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

“Lorie Smith is part of a long line of litigants who prevailed on their claims and secured liberty for themselves and others. Her case marks the 15th victory that Alliance Defending Freedom has won at the Supreme Court in the past 12 years. The manufactured sideshow about one request Ms. Smith received is an attempt to punish defenders of free speech, undermine a landmark victory and intimidate the Supreme Court and the public into ideological conformity,” the attorney’s wrote.

In a phone interview with the Daily Signal, Erin Hawley said that furious leftist activists are “grasping at straws” to try to discredit the court’s ruling. 

Hawley and his wife Erin met and Yale Law School and both clerked for Chief Justice John Roberts. The couple has been married since 2010. In the past, the media have seized on the opportunity to link Erin Hawley to her husband, often describing the accomplished attorney as “Josh Hawley’s wife” when reporting on her legal victories.

After Newsweek published an article titled “Josh Hawley’s Wife faces calls to be sanctioned over Supreme Court case,” the senator’s team accused the media of trying “to downplay her success & only talk about who she’s married to.

“They hate strong women,” Marone wrote on Twitter alongside the article.

A separate Vanity Fair article also noted that Erin was “Josh Hawley’s Wife” in a headline about her push to “ban abortion medication.”

“It’s actually unbelievable @VanityFair doesn’t think to include that Erin is a lawyer in their headline. Unless, of course, they intentionally excluded that very important piece of information,” Marone wrote at the time.

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