John Jay Hooker was born in Nashville in 1930, son of John Jay Hooker Sr.,
a famous trial lawyer, and grandchild of Henry Williamson, a signer of the
Constitution of Tennessee (1870). His mother is Darthula Hooker June, a
descendent of Governor William Blount, a signer of the U.S. Constitution
(1787) and President of the Constitutional Convention of Tennessee (1796).
John Jay has four grown children and is presently single.|
Hooker attended Palmer grammar school and graduated from Montgomery Bell Academy, then attended the University of the South at Sewanee for three years. He served in the U.S. Army from 1953-55 with the Judge Advocate General's office as a Line of Duty Investigator, then attended Vanderbilt University Law School, graduating in 1957.
He was employed by Gov. Frank Clement in 1958 for the investigation of the Judge Raulston Schoolfield bribery case and the presentation of the findings to the House of Representatives. The House voted to impeach and he was employed to represent them at the trial before the Senate. The judge was convicted of accepting bribes and removed from office.
Among those testifying at the impeachment trial was Robert F. Kennedy. From that meeting came a close personal friendship which lasted until Kennedy's death in 1968. Beginning in 1958 he served as National Director of Professional Men and Women for the 1960 John Kennedy/Lyndon Johnson campaign in Washington.
He became Special Assistant to Robert F. Kennedy in 1961. As such he was involved in the case of Baker vs Carr, a Tennessee case that ultimately became known as the "One-Man-One-Vote case." Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren called it the most important case ever decided by the Warren court. Hooker has been credited with causing the Department of Justice to become involved in that case.
After the impeachment trial in 1958, Hooker started the law firm of Hooker, Hooker & Willis in Nashville. In 1962 became general counsel for the Nashville Tennessean, a nationally known democratic newspaper famous for investigative reporting which had been deeply involved in the Schoolfield Impeachment trial. In 1962, at age 32 he was endorsed by Sen. Estes Kefauver and the Nashville Tennessean to run against Frank Clement for the Democratic nomination for governor but he did not run in that race. However, in 1966 he ran against former Gov. Buford Ellington for the Democratic nomination, losing the primary in a close race which was hotly contested.
In 1967 Hooker started a business called Minnie Pearl's Chicken where he was Chairman of the Board. In 1968 he was one of the five founders of Hospital Corporation of America. In 1970 he won the Democratic primary for governor, losing in the general election to Winfield Dunn. The Democratic party was divided 50/50 and had been involved in two decades of bitter, inner-party struggles which, in fact, caused his defeat. In 1973 he became chairman of the board of STP Corporation. He left STP in 1976 and ran for the United States Senate, losing to James R. Sasser in the Democratic primary.
In 1979 he arranged for the sale of the Nashville Tennessean to Gannett Corp. He put together a syndicate that bought a part interest in the Newspaper Printing Corporation, owners of both the Nashville Banner and Tennessean. He became publisher of the Nashville Banner. In 1982 he sold his interest in the Nashville Banner and became chairman of United Press International. In 1984 he started a business called Hooker Hamburgers and which he sold in 1986.
He became involved again in politics in 1988 and instituted an effort to get Gov. Bill Clinton of Arkansas to run for president. After Clinton declined, John Jay became involved in the Jesse Jackson presidential campaign, campaigning extensively nationwide. In 1992 he was a principal instigator in getting Ross Perot to appear on the Larry King show, then in convincing him to run for president of the United States.
In 1994 Hooker mounted efforts to affectuate campaign reform in America, becoming involved in lawsuits challenging non-voter, out-of-state campaign contributions collected by James R. Sasser and Dr. Bill Frist, now Senator Bill Frist. In 1996 he brought lawsuits against Sen. Fred Thompson involving acceptance of out-of-state, non-voter campaign contributions. He then brought a lawsuit challenging the judicial election process, involving retention elections, which resulted in the defeat of Judge Penny White for reelection. Now pending are lawsuits against Gov. Don Sundquist, challenging the constitutionality of campaign contributions from non-voters, and challenging the law that exempts campaign contributions from being tested under the bribery statute. Also pending is a challenge to the election process for the appellate courts of Tennessee testing the constitutionality of the retention election law. These are highly-publicized cases which could produce far-reaching results.
John Jay Hooker | 115 Woodmont Blvd. | Suite 622 | NASHVILLE, TN 37205
O(615) 269-6558 Cell (615) 479-6531