February 25, 2016
CONTACT: Forest Thigpen
Former Assistant US Attorney Mike Hurst to direct legal efforts
(JACKSON) -- Mississippi Center for Public Policy (MCPP) today announced the creation of the Mississippi Justice Institute (MJI) as the Center's legal arm to represent Mississippians whose state or federal Constitutional rights have been threatened by government actions. Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst has joined MCPP to serve as its General Counsel and as Director of MJI.
"For 23 years we've worked to help legislators write laws to guard the liberty of the people of Mississippi, to enhance their opportunities, and to protect their families," said Forest Thigpen, President of MCPP. "Through the Mississippi Justice Institute, we will pursue those same goals in the judicial system by working to ensure our laws are carried out in a way that protects the liberty of our people and honors their Constitutional rights.
Thigpen said, "We're thrilled to have Mike Hurst join us to lead this effort. Mike's work as a federal prosecutor, fighting public corruption in Mississippi, and his experience in constitutional issues in Washington, D.C., make him a perfect fit for this new project."
Hurst said, "With the creation of MJI, I am excited about the opportunity to continue to pursue the interests of freedom and justice on behalf of Mississippi citizens in our courts. In the past, conservative legal groups from outside have come to Mississippi in order to fill this void - and they've done a fine job - but not all the violations of rights are headline grabbers. Mississippians need someone here to fight for the rights of our citizens whose life, liberty and property rights are being abused or limited by government. MJI will represent individuals or groups whose rights are threatened or infringed upon by the government, and we will intervene when important liberty interests or issues are being litigated in the courts, considered or decided upon by administrative agencies, or debated in the public square."
Hurst noted MJI's activities would include direct litigation on behalf of individuals, intervening in cases important to public policy, participating in regulatory and rule making proceedings, and filing amicus, or "friend of the Court," briefs to offer unique perspectives on significant legal matters in Mississippi and Federal courts.
"America and Mississippi prosper with a limited government that allows free markets to work. Limited government isn't just a conservative idea; it is the heart and soul of our state and federal constitutions. In practical matters, for families and businesses and citizens, an unconstitutional law or policy is only overturned if someone stands up and fights against it. MJI will be that champion for Mississippians in need." He said MJI will be announcing its first legal action "very soon."
Prior to joining MCPP, Hurst served as Assistant United States Attorney from 2006 until 2015, when he resigned and ran as the Republican nominee for Mississippi Attorney General. As a federal prosecutor, Mike led some of the largest and most complex public corruption and white collar cases in the state's history, including the recent bribery case against the former Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner. In 2014, Hurst was awarded the Director's Award for Outstanding Prosecution of Fraud and Service to Fraud Prevention by the U.S. Department of Justice's Executive Office of the United States Attorneys. Previously, Hurst served as Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee focusing on the U.S. Constitution, and later as Legislative Director and Counsel for Congressman Chip Pickering.
The Mississippi Center for Public Policy is an independent, non-profit organization based in Jackson. It works to advance the ideals of free markets, limited government, and strong traditional families. Its work, including the Mississippi Justice Institute, is supported by voluntary, tax-deductible contributions. It receives no funds from government agencies for its operations. To learn more about MCPP, visit www.mspolicy.org.