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.
In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders. Four states use the term commonwealth rather than state in their full official names.
Territories of the United States are sub-national administrative divisions overseen by the federal government. They differ from U.S. states and Native American tribes, which have limited sovereignty. The territories are classified by incorporation and whether they have an "organized" government through an organic act passed by Congress.
State governments of the United States are institutional units in the United States exercising some of the functions of government at a level below that of the federal government. Each state's government holds fiscal, legislative and executive authority over a defined geographic territory. The United States comprises 50 states: 13 that were already part of the United States at the time the present Constitution took effect in 1789, plus 37 that have been admitted since by Congress as authorized under Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution.
The current party composition of the state attorneys general are:
The composition for the District of Columbia and the 5 populated territories are:
The most prevalent method of selecting a state 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 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 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 governor.In Puerto Rico, the attorney general is officially called the secretary of justice, but is commonly known as the Puerto Rico attorney general.
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.
List of attorneys general by U.S. states and territories:
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|
|Steve Marshall||Alabama||Republican||February 10, 2017||2023||University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa|
|Kevin Clarkson||Alaska||Republican||December 5, 2018||Appointed||Willamette University|
|Talauega Ale||American Samoa||Democratic||January 28, 2014||Appointed||Drake University|
|Mark Brnovich||Arizona||Republican||January 5, 2015||2023||University of San Diego|
|Leslie Rutledge||Arkansas||Republican||January 13, 2015||2023||University of Arkansas, Little Rock|
|Xavier Becerra||California||Democratic||January 24, 2017||2023||Stanford University|
|Phil Weiser||Colorado||Democratic||January 8, 2019||2023||New York University|
|William Tong||Connecticut||Democratic||January 9, 2019||2023||University of Chicago|
|Kathy Jennings||Delaware||Democratic||January 1, 2019||2023||Villanova University|
|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)
|Chris Carr||Georgia||Republican||November 1, 2016||2023||University of Georgia|
|Leevin Camacho||Guam||Independent||January 7, 2019||2023||Boston University|
|Clare Connors||Hawaii||Democratic||January 3, 2019||Appointed by Governor||Harvard University|
|Lawrence Wasden||Idaho||Republican||January 6, 2003||2023||University of Idaho, Moscow|
|Kwame Raoul||Illinois||Democratic||January 14, 2019||2023||Illinois Institute of Technology|
|Curtis Hill||Indiana||Republican||January 9, 2017||2021||Indiana University, Bloomington|
|Tom Miller||Iowa||Democratic||January 6, 1995||2023||Harvard University|
|Derek Schmidt||Kansas||Republican||January 10, 2011||2023||Georgetown University|
|Andy Beshear||Kentucky||Democratic||January 4, 2016||2020||University of Virginia|
|Jeff Landry||Louisiana||Republican||January 11, 2016||2023||Loyola University, New Orleans|
|Aaron Frey||Maine||Democratic||January 2, 2019||2023 (Elected by the Legislature)||Roger Williams University|
|Brian Frosh||Maryland||Democratic||January 6, 2015||2023||Columbia University|
|Maura Healey||Massachusetts||Democratic||January 21, 2015||2023||Northeastern University|
|Dana Nessel||Michigan||Democratic||January 1, 2019||2023||Wayne State University|
|Keith Ellison||Minnesota||Democratic||January 7, 2019||2023||University of Minnesota, Twin Cities|
|Jim Hood||Mississippi||Democratic||January 14, 2004||2020||University of Mississippi, Oxford|
|Eric Schmitt||Missouri||Republican||January 3, 2019||2021||Saint Louis University|
|Tim Fox||Montana||Republican||January 7, 2013||2021||University of Montana|
|Doug Peterson||Nebraska||Republican||January 8, 2015||2023||Pepperdine University|
|Aaron Ford||Nevada||Democratic||January 7, 2019||2023||Ohio State University, Columbus|
|Gordon MacDonald||New Hampshire||Republican||April 13, 2017||2021 (Appointed)||Cornell University|
|Gurbir Grewal||New Jersey||Democratic||January 16, 2018||Appointed||College of William and Mary|
|Hector Balderas||New Mexico||Democratic||January 1, 2015||2023||University of New Mexico, Albuquerque|
|Tish James||New York||Democratic||January 1, 2019||2023||Howard University|
|Josh Stein||North Carolina||Democratic||January 1, 2017||2021||Harvard University|
|Wayne Stenehjem||North Dakota||Republican||December 15, 2000||2023||University of North Dakota|
|Edward Manibusan||Northern Mariana Islands||Democratic||January 13, 2015||2023||Gonzaga University|
|Dave Yost||Ohio||Republican||January 14, 2019||2023||Capital University|
|Mike Hunter||Oklahoma||Republican||February 20, 2017||2023||University of Oklahoma|
|Ellen Rosenblum||Oregon||Democratic||June 29, 2012||2021||University of Oregon|
|Josh Shapiro||Pennsylvania||Democratic||January 17, 2017||2021||Georgetown University|
|Wanda Vázquez Garced||Puerto Rico|| New Progressive/|
|January 2, 2017||2021 (Appointed)||Interamerican University, San Juan|
|Peter Neronha||Rhode Island||Democratic||January 1, 2019||2023||Boston College|
|Alan Wilson||South Carolina||Republican||January 12, 2011||2023||University of South Carolina, Columbia|
|Jason Ravnsborg||South Dakota||Republican||January 5, 2019||2023||University of South Dakota, Vermillion|
|Herbert Slatery||Tennessee||Republican||October 1, 2014||2022 (Appointed)||University of Tennessee, Knoxville|
|Ken Paxton||Texas||Republican||January 5, 2015||2023||University of Virginia|
|Carol Thomas-Jacobs||U.S. Virgin Islands||Independent||January 10, 2019||Appointed||Norman Manley Law School|
|Sean Reyes||Utah||Republican||December 30, 2013||2021||University of California, Berkeley|
|T. J. Donovan||Vermont||Democratic||January 5, 2017||2021||Suffolk University|
|Mark Herring||Virginia||Democratic||January 11, 2014||2022||University of Richmond|
|Bob Ferguson||Washington||Democratic||January 16, 2013||2021||New York University|
|Patrick Morrisey||West Virginia||Republican||January 14, 2013||2021||Rutgers University, Newark|
|Josh Kaul||Wisconsin||Democratic||January 7, 2019||2023||Stanford University|
|Bridget Hill||Wyoming||Republican||January 7, 2019||Appointed||University of Wyoming|
The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) is an organization of 56 state and territorial attorneys general in the United States. The association's mission is "to foster interstate cooperation on legal and law enforcement issues, to conduct policy research and analysis of issues, and facilitate communication between the states' chief legal officers and all levels of government."
For purposes of the federal judicial system, Congress has divided the United States into judicial districts. There are 94 federal judicial districts, including at least one district in each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Three territories of the United States — the Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands — have district courts that hear federal cases, including bankruptcy cases. The breakdown of what is in each judicial district is at 28 U.S.C. §§ 81–131.
The Federal Government of the United States is the national government of the United States, a federal republic in North America, composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and several island possessions. The federal government is composed of three distinct branches: legislative, executive, and judicial, whose powers are vested by the U.S. Constitution in the Congress, the President, and the federal courts, respectively. The powers and duties of these branches are further defined by acts of congress, including the creation of executive departments and courts inferior to the Supreme Court.
United States attorneys represent the United States federal government in United States district courts and United States courts of appeals.
In the terminology of the United States insular areas, a Commonwealth is a type of organized but unincorporated dependent territory. There are currently two United States insular areas with the status of commonwealth, the Northern Mariana Islands and Puerto Rico.
In the United States, each state has its own constitution.
Non-voting members of the United States House of Representatives are representatives of their territory in the House of Representatives, who do not have a right to vote on proposed legislation in the full House but nevertheless have floor privileges and are able to participate in certain other House functions. Non-voting members may vote in a House committee of which they are a member and introduce legislation. There are currently six non-voting members: a delegate representing the federal district of Washington D.C., a resident commissioner representing Puerto Rico, and one delegate for each of the other four permanently inhabited US Territories: American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the US Virgin Islands. As with voting members, non-voting delegates are elected every two years, and the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico is elected every four years.
The Jones–Shafroth Act —also known as the Jones Act of Puerto Rico, Jones Law of Puerto Rico, or as the Puerto Rican Federal Relations Act of 1917— was an Act of the United States Congress, signed by President Woodrow Wilson on March 2, 1917. The act superseded the Foraker Act and granted U.S. citizenship to anyone born in Puerto Rico on or after April 25, 1898. It also created the Senate of Puerto Rico, established a bill of rights, and authorized the election of a Resident Commissioner to a four-year term. The act also exempted Puerto Rican bonds from federal, state, and local taxes regardless of where the bond holder resides.
The United States territorial courts are tribunals established in territories of the United States by the United States Congress, pursuant to its power under Article Four of the United States Constitution, the Territorial Clause. Most United States territorial courts are defunct because the territories under their jurisdiction have become states or been retroceded.
Pedro Rafael Pierluisi Urrutia is an attorney who was the 19th Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico from 2009 to 2017. In this capacity, Pierluisi served as a member of the United States House of Representatives and as the only delegate that represents all U.S. citizens residing on the island. His constituency encompassed about 3.3 million people and, unlike most others, belongs to an at-large congressional district that covers his entire domicile rather than a subdivision of it. Pierluisi's rights and privileges differed from other congressmen as well, as he is denied a vote on the final disposition of all legislations on the House floor because of his designation as resident commissioner. Still, save for that exception, he exercised his functions like that of any other congressman. He has Italian ancestry.
Under United States law, an unincorporated territory is an area controlled by the United States government that is not part of the United States. In unincorporated territories, the U.S. Constitution applies only partially. In the absence of an organic law, a territory is classified as unorganized. In unincorporated territories, "fundamental rights apply as a matter of law, but other constitutional rights are not available". Selected constitutional provisions apply, depending on congressional acts and judicial rulings according to U.S. constitutional practice, local tradition, and law.
Eduardo Bhatia Gautier is an attorney-at-law and the former 15th President of the Senate of Puerto Rico. Bhatia is also a former executive director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration and a Fulbright scholar.
The District of Columbia and United States Territories Quarter Program was a one-year coin program of the United States Mint that saw quarters being minted in 2009 to honor the District of Columbia and the unincorporated United States insular areas of Puerto Rico, Guam, United States Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands. The islands commonly grouped together as the United States Minor Outlying Islands were not featured, as the law defined the word "territory" as being limited to the areas mentioned above. It followed the completion of the 50 State Quarters program. The coins used the same George Washington obverse as with the quarters of the previous ten years. The reverse of the quarters featured a design selected by the Mint depicting of the federal district and each territory. Unlike on the 50 State quarters, the motto "E Pluribus Unum" preceded and was the same size as the mint date on the reverse.
Gustavo Antonio Gelpí Jr. is the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. At age 40, he was the youngest judge at the time of his appointment.
Voting rights of citizens in Guam differ from those of United States citizens in each of the fifty states. In the U.S. House of Representatives, Guam is entitled to a delegate, who is not allowed to vote on the floor of the House, but can vote on procedural matters and in House committees. Citizens of Guam may not vote in general elections for President.