William Leonard Hungate (born December 14, 1922 ) was a Member of Congress (D-9th Dist. Missouri) between November 3,1964 (special election upon the death of Congressman Clarence Cannon) and January 3, 1977, representing the Ninth Congressional District. Following his retirement from the U.S. House of Representatives, Hungate was appointed to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter, where he served until his retirement in 1992.
Hungate was born in Benton, Franklin County, Ill. on December 14, 1922. He graduated from Bowling Green High School, Bowling Green, Missouri in 1940 and University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri in 1943. He received his LL.B. from Harvard Law School in 1948 and was awarded a Doctorate of Jurisprudence degree from Harvard Law School in 1969.
Hungate served in the United States Army from 1943 to 1946, where he received the Combat Infantryman Badge, 3 Battle stars, and Bronze Star. He served in England, France and Germany throughout World War II.
He was admitted to the Missouri bar in 1948, Illinois Bar in 1949, and immediately entered private law practice in Lincoln County (Troy), Missouri. He was thereafter elected prosecuting attorney of Lincoln County, Missouri, serving from 1951 to 1956. From 1958 to 1964, he served as a Special Assistant Attorney General.
In 1964, he was elected simultaneously as a Democrat to the Eighty-eighth and to the Eighty-ninth Congress by special election, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of United States Representative Clarence Cannon. He was reelected to the five succeeding Congresses (November 3, 1964-January 3, 1977). He was a member of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, and was one of the principal authors of one of the three articles of impeachment of President Richard M. Nixon. He was not a candidate for reelection to the Ninety-fifth Congress in 1976, and he was succeeded by fellow Democrat Harold L. Volkmer (D-9th Dist. Mo.)
In 1979, Hungate was appointed as Judge to the United States District Court by President Jimmy Carter. He was the Judge presiding over the St. Louis public school desegregation case, and instrumental in designing a voluntary desegregation plan for the St. Louis City and County School Districts. He retired in 1992, and currently resides in St. Louis County, Missouri. He is the father of David Hungate, who was a bass player in the rock group Toto and appeared on TV as a bassist with Sonny and Cher.