Mississippi Justice Institute
The Mississippi Justice Institute (MJI) was founded by the Mississippi Center for Public Policy (MCPP) in 2016 to be its legal arm representing Mississippians whose state or federal Constitutional rights have been threatened by government actions. MJI is led by former Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst, who also serves as General Counsel for MCPP.
For 23 years, MCPP has worked to help legislators write laws to guard the liberty of the people of Mississippi, to enhance their opportunities, and to protect their families. Through the Mississippi Justice Institute, those same goals will be pursued in the judicial system by working to ensure our laws are carried out in a way that protects liberty and honors Constitutional rights.
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 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.
MJI’s activities 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.
Mississippi Justice Institute is supported by voluntary, tax-deductible contributions. It receives no funds from government agencies for its operations.
Lead Attorney Mike Hurst
Mike Hurst is the Director of the Mississippi Justice Institute (“MJI”) and General Counsel for the Mississippi Center for Public Policy (“MCPP”). Prior to leading MJI, Mike was the Republican nominee for Mississippi Attorney General in 2015.
From 2006 until February 2015, Mike served as an Assistant United States Attorney, Criminal Division, in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Jackson, Mississippi, where he focused primarily on fighting public corruption throughout Mississippi. He successfully led the bribery prosecution against former Department of Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps, one of the largest and longest running bribery schemes in the history of the State of Mississippi. Mike also prosecuted many other public officials in his crusade to clean up Mississippi, including a chancery judge, police chief, mayors, supervisors, agency heads, and other government employees.
Mike also vigorously prosecuted illegal immigration in our state, filing what is believed to be the first ever federal criminal complaint against a corporation in the Southern District of Mississippi for criminal violations of our immigration laws, as well as being part of the prosecution team involved in what was the largest single-day illegal immigration raid in our nation’s history. He also led the first successful prosecution in Mississippi of an employer for harboring illegal aliens. In addition, Mike prosecuted what are believed to be the largest mortgage fraud case in the history of Mississippi and the largest fuel card fraud in the nation’s history at the time.
Mike has received numerous awards from the Department of Justice, Homeland Security, and other federal law enforcement agencies for his successful efforts in fighting crime and protecting Mississippians.
Before going to work at the US Attorney’s Office, Mike served on the staff of Congressman Chip Pickering, where he was instrumental in federal contract reforms and reforming the Stafford Act after Hurricane Katrina to keep economic aid in the hands of those on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. He also worked on the HOME Act, which was later used by Governor Haley Barbour as the model for Mississippi’s grant program that helped homeowners rebuild after Katrina.
Mike also served as Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, where he worked on pro-life issues such as the Unborn Victims of Violence Act and other constitutional issues.
Mike is a native of Newton County and a graduate of East Central Community College in Decatur and Millsaps College in Jackson, as well as The George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. Mike and his wife Celeste live in Madison with their four children, where Mike and Celeste teach Sunday School, Mike serves as Chairman of the deacons for his church, and they are actively involved in mission projects.