State attorney general
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The state attorney general in each of the 50 U.S. states, of the federal district, or of any of the territories is the chief legal advisor to the state government and the state's chief law enforcement officer. In some states, the attorney general serves as the head of a state department of justice, with responsibilities similar to those of the United States Department of Justice.
The most prevalent method of selecting a state's attorney general is by popular election. 43 states have an elected attorney general. Elected attorneys general serve a four-year term, except in Vermont, where the term is two years.
Seven states do not popularly elect an attorney general. In Alaska, Hawaii, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Wyoming, the attorney general is a gubernatorial appointee. The attorney general in Tennessee is appointed by the Tennessee Supreme Court for an eight-year term. In Maine, the attorney general is elected by the state Legislature for a two-year term.
The District of Columbia and two U.S. territories, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, elect their attorneys general for a four-year term. 2014 marked the first year that the District of Columbia and the Northern Mariana Islands held an election for the office. In American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the attorney general is appointed by the governor. In Puerto Rico, the attorney general is officially called the secretary of justice, but is commonly known as the Puerto Rico attorney general.
Many states have passed term limits limiting the selection to 2 consecutive terms (9 states); 2 terms maximum (4 states), but 33 states still have no term limits.
Defense of the state in federal lawsuits
State attorneys general enforce both state and federal laws. Because they are sworn to uphold the United States' constitution and laws as well as the state's, they often decline to defend the state in federal lawsuits.
Current attorneys general
The current party composition of the state attorneys general is:
- 23 Democrats
- 27 Republicans
The composition for the District of Columbia and the 5 populated territories is:
- 4 Democrats
- 2 Independent
Rows of the attorney general table below are color coded indicating the political party of the office holder.
|Officeholder||State||Party||Assumed office||Term expires||Law school||Term limits|
|Steve Marshall||Alabama||Republican||February 10, 2017||2023 (term limits)||University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa||2 consecutive terms|
|Treg Taylor||Alaska||Republican||January 30, 2021||Appointed||Brigham Young University||no term limits|
|Fainu'ulelei Alailima-Utu||American Samoa||Nonpartisan||January 21, 2021||Appointed||University of California, Los Angeles|
|Mark Brnovich||Arizona||Republican||January 5, 2015||2023 (term limits)||University of San Diego||2 consecutive terms|
|Leslie Rutledge||Arkansas||Republican||January 13, 2015||2023 (term limits)||University of Arkansas, Little Rock|
|Rob Bonta||California||Democratic||April 23, 2021||2023||Yale University||2 terms maximum|
|Phil Weiser||Colorado||Democratic||January 8, 2019||2023||New York University||2 consecutive terms|
|William Tong||Connecticut||Democratic||January 9, 2019||2023||University of Chicago||no term limits|
|Kathy Jennings||Delaware||Democratic||January 1, 2019||2023||Villanova University||no term limits|
|Karl Racine||District of Columbia||Democratic||January 2, 2015||2023||University of Virginia|
|Ashley Moody||Florida||Republican||January 9, 2019||2023||University of Florida
Stetson University (LLM)
|2 consecutive terms|
|Chris Carr||Georgia||Republican||November 1, 2016||2023||University of Georgia||no term limits|
|Leevin Camacho||Guam||Independent||January 7, 2019||2023||Boston University|
|Hawaii||Democratic||December 10, 2021||Appointed||University of Hawaii, Manoa||no term limits|
|Lawrence Wasden||Idaho||Republican||January 6, 2003||2023||University of Idaho, Moscow||no term limits|
|Kwame Raoul||Illinois||Democratic||January 14, 2019||2023||Illinois Institute of Technology||no term limits|
|Todd Rokita||Indiana||Republican||January 11, 2021||2025||Indiana University, Indianapolis||no term limits|
|Tom Miller||Iowa||Democratic||January 6, 1995||2023||Harvard University||no term limits|
|Derek Schmidt||Kansas||Republican||January 10, 2011||2023||Georgetown University||no term limits|
|Daniel Cameron||Kentucky||Republican||December 17, 2019||2024||University of Louisville||2 consecutive terms|
|Jeff Landry||Louisiana||Republican||January 11, 2016||2024||Loyola University, New Orleans||no term limits|
|Aaron Frey||Maine||Democratic||January 2, 2019||2023 (Elected by the Legislature)||Roger Williams University||4 two year terms|
|Brian Frosh||Maryland||Democratic||January 6, 2015||2023||Columbia University||no term limits|
|Maura Healey||Massachusetts||Democratic||January 21, 2015||2023||Northeastern University||no term limits|
|Dana Nessel||Michigan||Democratic||January 1, 2019||2023||Wayne State University||2 terms max|
|Keith Ellison||Minnesota||Democratic||January 7, 2019||2023||University of Minnesota, Twin Cities||no term limits|
|Lynn Fitch||Mississippi||Republican||January 9, 2020||2024||University of Mississippi, Oxford||no term limits|
|Eric S. Schmitt||Missouri||Republican||January 3, 2019||2025||Saint Louis University||no term limits|
|Austin Knudsen||Montana||Republican||January 4, 2021||2025||University of Montana||2 terms in 16-year period|
|Doug Peterson||Nebraska||Republican||January 8, 2015||2023||Pepperdine University||no term limits|
|Aaron Ford||Nevada||Democratic||January 7, 2019||2023||Ohio State University, Columbus||2 terms max|
|John Formella||New Hampshire||Republican||April 22, 2021||2025 (Appointed)||George Washington University||no term limits|
|New Jersey||Democratic||February 14, 2022||Appointed||Stanford University||no term limits|
|Hector Balderas||New Mexico||Democratic||January 1, 2015||2023 (term limits)||University of New Mexico, Albuquerque||2 consecutive terms|
|Letitia James||New York||Democratic||January 1, 2019||2023||Howard University||no term limits|
|Josh Stein||North Carolina||Democratic||January 1, 2017||2025||Harvard University||no term limits|
|Drew Wrigley||North Dakota||Republican||February 9, 2022||2023||American University||no term limits|
|Edward Manibusan||Northern Mariana Islands||Democratic||January 13, 2015||2023||Gonzaga University|
|Dave Yost||Ohio||Republican||January 14, 2019||2023||Capital University||2 consecutive terms|
|John O'Connor||Oklahoma||Republican||July 23, 2021||2023||University of Tulsa||2 terms max|
|Ellen Rosenblum||Oregon||Democratic||June 29, 2012||2025||University of Oregon||no term limits|
|Josh Shapiro||Pennsylvania||Democratic||January 17, 2017||2025||Georgetown University||2 consecutive terms|
|Domingo Emanuelli||Puerto Rico||New Progressive||January 2, 2021||Appointed||University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras|
|Peter Neronha||Rhode Island||Democratic||January 1, 2019||2023||Boston College||2 consecutive terms|
|Alan Wilson||South Carolina||Republican||January 12, 2011||2023||University of South Carolina, Columbia||no term limits|
|South Dakota||Republican||April 12, 2022||2023||University of Montana, Missoula||2 consecutive terms|
|Herbert Slatery||Tennessee||Republican||October 1, 2014||2022 (Elected by State Supreme Court)||University of Tennessee, Knoxville||no term limits|
|Ken Paxton||Texas||Republican||January 5, 2015||2023||University of Virginia||no term limits|
|Denise George-Counts||U.S. Virgin Islands||Independent||May 14, 2019||Appointed||Howard University|
|Sean Reyes||Utah||Republican||December 30, 2013||2025||University of California, Berkeley||no term limits|
|T. J. Donovan||Vermont||Democratic||January 5, 2017||2023||Suffolk University||no term limits|
|Jason Miyares||Virginia||Republican||January 15, 2022||2026||College of William and Mary||no term limits|
|Bob Ferguson||Washington||Democratic||January 16, 2013||2025||New York University||no term limits|
|Patrick Morrisey||West Virginia||Republican||January 14, 2013||2025||Rutgers University, Newark||no term limits|
|Josh Kaul||Wisconsin||Democratic||January 7, 2019||2023||Stanford University||no term limits|
|Bridget Hill||Wyoming||Republican||January 7, 2019||Appointed||University of Wyoming||no term limits|
- State constitutional officer (United States)
- National Association of Attorneys General
- List of U.S. statewide elected officials
- Moretto, Mario (January 23, 2015). "LePage sheds light on plan to strip Legislature of power to elect attorney general, treasurer". Bangor Publishing Company. Bangor Daily News. Retrieved January 16, 2016.
- "Elections for Attorney General to Take Place in 30 States". National Association of Attorneys General. National Association of Attorneys General. Retrieved January 16, 2016.
- "2014 State and Territorial Attorneys General Election Results". National Association of Attorneys General. National Association of Attorneys General. Retrieved January 16, 2016.
- "AG Spotlight: New Attorneys General". National Association of Attorneys General. National Association of Attorneys General. Retrieved January 16, 2016.
- "Attorneys General with term limits". Ballotpedia. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
- Phillips, Amber (May 15, 2016). "Is it legal for North Carolina's attorney general to not defend the state's bathroom law?". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 10, 2018.
- The title of the head of Puerto Rico's Justice Department is the Secretary of Justice, not Attorney General.
- Listing of official State Attorney General websites