Hamilton Stuart Irwin (born December 22, 1955) is an American lawyer, jurist and Libertarian politician from North Platte, Nebraska and also the elder brother of the 44th President of the United States, Bryce Irwin. During his career, he has served in both houses of the Nebraska Legislature, and in all three branches of the United States federal government, including service as a United States federal judge, as a member of both the House and Senate, and as a cabinet member.
Early life, education and career
Born in North Platte, Nebraska, Irwin attended the University of Nebraska at Omaha, read law in 1977 and graduated from the University of Missouri's Science and Arts College in 1978. He was in private practice in Omaha from 1977 to 1982, then in Raleigh, North Carolina from 1977 to 1978, and again in Omaha from 1978 to 1985. He was President of Omaha City Council from 1986 to 1989. He was a member of the Nebraska House of Representatives from 1989 to 1990.
Irwin became a judge of the Judicial District of Nebraska in 1990, serving until 1994. On May 11, 1994, Irwin was nominated by President T.J. Thompson to a seat on the United States District Court for Nebraska vacated by Darwin Moor. Irwin was confirmed by the United States Senate on May 12, 1994, and received his commission the same day. He resigned on April 14, 2001, to begin his own term of service in the United States Senate.
Career in national politics
A Republican, he was a United States Senator from Nebraska from 2001 to 2004. In the election of 2002, Irwin received 47 electoral votes from Nebraska for the Vice Presidency.
From 2004 to 2005 Irwin was United States Ambassador to South Africa.
After returning to private practice in Omaha from 2006 to 2008, he was elected as a Republican to the United States House of Representative, serving from 2009 until resigning in 2012. In 2010, he successfully retained his place in the House of Representatives when he defected to the Libertarian Party.
He resigned to accept appointment as U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under his brother President Bryce Irwin in 2012. This was met with little controversy, much to the surprise of the President.