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Gregory W. Abbott

Greg Abbott in front of the Ten Commandments display he argued for in front of the U.S. Supreme Court

50th Texas Attorney General
Assumed office 
December 2, 2002
Preceded by John Cornyn

Born November 13, 1957
Wichita Falls, Texas
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Cecilia P. Abbott
Children Audrey

Gregory W. "Greg" Abbott (born November 13, 1957) is the attorney general of Texas, and is the second Republican since Reconstruction to serve in that role. Abbott was sworn in on December 2, 2002, following John Cornyn's election to the U.S. Senate. Prior to assuming the office of attorney general, Abbott was a justice on the Texas Supreme Court, a position to which he was initially appointed in 1995 by then-Governor George W. Bush.


Personal history

Abbott was born in Wichita Falls and was reared in Duncanville (Dallas County).[1] He and his wife, Cecilia P. Abbott, a former school teacher and principal, were married in 1982. They have a daughter named Audrey (born 1997).[2]

After his graduation from the University of Texas in Austin, with a B.B.A. in finance, he received his law degree from the Vanderbilt University Law School in Nashville, Tennessee.

Political career

Abbott’s political career began in Houston, where he served as a state trial judge in the 129th District Court for three years. Bush appointed Abbott to the Texas Supreme Court, and he was then twice elected to the state’s highest civil court—in 1996 (two-year term) and 1998 (six-year term). In 1996, Abbott had no Democratic opponent but was challenged by Libertarian John B. Hawley of Dallas. Abbott obtained 3,201,185 votes (84.1 percent) to Hawley's 604,984 (15.85 percent). In 1998, Abbott defeated Democrat David Van Os of San Antonio, 2,104,828 (60.1 percent) to 1,396,924 (39.89 percent) to win a full term on the Supreme Court. However, he served just over half of the term.

As a judge he received awards including: "Jurist of the Year" from the Texas Review of Law & Politics; "Trial Judge of the Year" from the Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists; and "Appellate Judge of the Year" from the Texas Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates


Election as attorney general, 2002

Abbott resigned from the Supreme Court in 2001 to seek the open attorney general's position in 2002. The previous Attorney General John Cornyn vacated the post to run for the U.S. Senate. Abbott defeated the Democratic nominee, former Austin Mayor Kirk Watson, for the position. He received 2,542,184 votes (56.72 percent) to Watson's 1,841,359 (41.08 percent). Two minor candidates held an additional 2.18 percent of the vote.

Lawsuit against Sony BMG

On November 21, 2005, Abbott sued Sony BMG. Texas is the first state in the nation to bring legal action against Sony BMG for illegal spyware. The suit is also the first filed under the state’s spyware law of 2005. It alleges the company surreptitiously installed the spyware on millions of compact music discs (CDs) that consumers inserted into their computers when they play the CDs, which can compromise the systems.[3][4]. On December 21, 2005 Abbott added new allegations to his lawsuit against Sony-BMG. Abbott says the MediaMax copy protection technology violates the state's spyware and deceptive trade practices laws. He says Sony-BMG offered consumers a licensing agreement when they bought CDs and played them on their computers. But, Abbott alleges in the lawsuit that even if consumers reject that agreement, spyware is secretly installed on their computers, which pose security risks for music buyers. 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.[5][6]

Van Orden v. Perry

On March 2, 2005, Abbott appeared before the United States Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., where he defended a Ten Commandments monument on the Texas State Capitol grounds. Dozens of similar monuments were donated to cities and towns across the nation as part of a promotion for Cecil B. DeMille's epic movie The Ten Commandments. The Supreme Court held in a 5-4 plurality decision, found the Texas display did not violate the Establishment Clause and was constitutional.

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 U.S. 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 still stands just to the northwest of the Capitol in Austin.

Reelection as attorney general

Abbott was unopposed for renomination as attorney general in the March 7, 2006, Republican primary. In the November 7, general election, Abbott easily defeated civil rights attorney and self-styled "people's" Democrat David Van Os, who had been his Democratic opponent in the 1998 election for state Supreme Court. Abbott polled 2,556,063 (59.5 percent) to Van Os's 1,599,069 (37.3 percent). Libertarian Jon Roland received another 139,525 votes (3.3 percent).

Election history

Most recent election


Texas general election, 2006: Texas Attorney General[7]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Greg Abbott 2,556,063 59.51 +2.79
Democratic David Van Os 1,599,069 37.23 -3.85
Libertarian Jon Roland 139,668 3.25 1.99
Majority 956.994 22.28 6.65
Turnout 4,294,800
Republican hold

Previous elections


Texas general election, 2002: Texas Attorney General[8]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Greg Abbott 2,542,184 56.72
Democratic Kirk Watson 1,841,359 41.08
Libertarian Jon Roland 56,880 1.26
Green David Keith Cobb 41,560 0.92
Majority 700,825 15.63
Turnout 4,481,983
Republican hold


Texas general election, 1998: Texas Supreme Court, Place 3[9]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Greg Abbott 2,104,828 60.11
Democratic David Van Os 1,396,924 39.89
Majority 707,904 20.21
Turnout 3,501,752
Republican hold



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  7. ^ Office of the Secretary of State. 2006 General Election. (accessed 15 December 2006)
  8. ^ Office of the Secretary of State. 2002 General Election. (accessed 15 December 2006)
  9. ^ Office of the Secretary of State. 1998 General Election. (accessed 15 December 2006)

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