Hugh Hewitt is the host of The Hugh Hewitt Show on the Salem Radio Network, heard nationally every weekday morning, and the host of a new show on MSNBC called Hugh Hewitt. In addition, Hewitt is an NBC News analyst, a professor of law at Chapman University Fowler School of Law in Orange County, CA, and a partner with the Los Angeles law firm of Larson O’Brien LLP.
Hewitt's broadcast career began in 1990 on Los Angeles radio station KFI AM 640 and on television in 1992 as host of PBS LA affiliate KCET nightly news and public affairs program Life & Times Tonight, for which he received three Emmy Awards. Hewitt is the author of a dozen books on politics, public policy, religion and happiness, and prior to joining NBC in the spring of 2016, was a regular on all networks’ Sunday shows, including Meet the Press, Face the Nation, This Week and State of the Union. He was a panelist in all four of the 2015–-2016 CNN-Salem GOP presidential debates from the Reagan Library and in Las Vegas, Houston and Miami. He is now a regular contributor on all NBC and MSNBC news programs.
Hewitt’s first job out of college was as a research assistant for David Eisenhower on a book about Ike as Supreme Commander in Europe and then he joined the staff of former President Richard Nixon as an editorial assistant, first at La Casa Pacifica in San Clemente and then in New York City, working on two of the former President’s books, The Real War and Leaders. Hewitt left Nixon’s staff to attend law school, and after graduation from Michigan Law clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for Judges Roger Robb and George MacKinnon. He then served as special assistant to Attorneys General William Smith and Edwin Meese, assistant counsel in the White House and as general counsel to two federal agencies before ending his time in the Reagan Administration as deputy director of the Office of Personnel Management, a position for which he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate at the age of 32.
Hewitt returned to California at the request of President Nixon to oversee the construction and opening of the Nixon Library and Birthplace in Yorba Linda, California. The library opened in July 1990, the same year Hewitt began his broadcast career.
He was profiled in the New Yorker in August 2005 by Nicholas Lemann, then dean of the Columbia School of Journalism. Lemann told the magazine’s readers that “Hewitt is the most influential conservative you have never heard of.” After another decade on the radio, hundreds of appearances on television and a prolific writing career as well as the enormous audiences of 2016’s debates, Lemann's assessment remains only half true.
Hewitt describes himself on air as an “evangelical Roman Catholic Presbyterian” and is a frequent commentator on religion in America. His law teaching is exclusively on constitutional law and the First Amendment while his law practice is in natural resources, with specialties in endangered species and “waters of the United States.” He has represented some of the nation’s largest landowners and home builders for more than a quarter century before administrative agencies and in the federal courts.
Since leaving the federal government, Hewitt has served as Governor Pete Wilson’s appointee to the South Coast Air Quality Management District, as the Speaker of the California Assembly’s appointee on the California Arts Council, and as a member of the Orange County Children & Families Commission, which annually spends more than $25 million in tobacco tax revenue on the needs of the county’s children aged 0 to 5.
Hewitt has conducted more than 25,000 interviews in his quarter century of broadcasting. He listed his favorite five in a January 2016 profile for The New York Times Magazine.
His mid-career memoir The Happiest Life was published in 2014 to critical praise from left, right and center, and he enjoys the reputation for public speaking as one derived from The Buckley School of debate and engagement.
Hewitt is a native of Warren, Ohio, and has been married to “the fetching Mrs. Hewitt” as he refers to her on air for 34 years. They have three children and divide their time between Washington, DC, and California. He is a passionate fan of the Cleveland Browns, Indians and Cavaliers and the Ohio State University Buckeyes, despite the fact that he is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Michigan Law School.
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