Attorney general

In most common law jurisdictions, the attorney general or attorney-general (sometimes abbreviated AG) is the main legal advisor to the government. The plural is attorneys general (traditional) or attorney generals.[1][2][3]

In some jurisdictions, attorneys general also have executive responsibility for law enforcement, prosecutions or even responsibility for legal affairs generally. In practice, the extent to which the attorney general personally provides legal advice to the government varies between jurisdictions, and even between individual office-holders within the same jurisdiction, often depending on the level and nature of the office-holder's prior legal experience.

Where the attorney general has ministerial responsibility for legal affairs in general (as is the case, for example, with the United States Attorney General or the Attorney-General for Australia, and the respective attorneys general of the states in each country), the ministerial portfolio is largely equivalent to that of a Minister of Justice in some other countries.

The term was originally used to refer to any person who holds a general power of attorney to represent a principal in all matters. In the common law tradition, anyone who represents the state, especially in criminal prosecutions, is such an attorney. Although a government may designate some official as the permanent attorney general, anyone who came to represent the state in the same way could, in the past, be referred to as such, even if only for a particular case. Today, however, in most jurisdictions, the term is largely reserved as a title of the permanently appointed attorney general of the state, sovereign or other member of the royal family.

Civil law jurisdictions have similar offices, which may be variously called "public prosecutor general", "procurators", "advocates general", "public attorneys", and other titles. Many of these offices also use "attorney general" or "attorney-general" as the English translation of the title, although because of different historical provenance, the nature of such offices is usually different from that of attorneys-general in common law jurisdictions.

Etymology

In regard to the etymology of the phrase Attorney General, Steven Pinker writes that the earliest citation in the Oxford English Dictionary is from 1292: "Tous attorneyz general purrount lever fins et cirrographer" (All general attorneys may levy fines and make legal documents).[4] The phrase was borrowed from Anglo-Norman French when England was ruled by Normans after the conquest of England in the 11th-century. As a variety of French, which was spoken in the law courts, schools, universities and in sections of the gentry and the bourgeoisie, the term relating to government got introduced into English. The phrase attorney general is composed of a noun followed by the postpositive adjective general and as other French compounds its plural form also appears as "attorneys generals".[5][6] As compared to major generals, a term that also originates from French ("major-général") and also has a postpositive adjective, it also appears as "attorney generals". Steven Pinker writes: "So if you are ever challenged for saying attorney-generals, mother-in-laws, passerbys ... you can reply, 'They are the very model of the modern major general.'"[4]

Attorneys-general in common law and hybrid jurisdictions

Attorneys-General in common law jurisdictions, and jurisdictions with a legal system which is partially derived from the common law tradition, share a common provenance.

Australia

In Australia, the Attorney-General is the chief law officer of the Crown and a member of the Cabinet. The Attorney-General is the minister responsible for legal affairs, national and public security, and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. Christian Porter is the current Attorney-General. The Australian states each have separate attorneys-general, who are state ministers with similar responsibilities to the federal minister with respect to state law.

Functions of the state and federal attorneys-general include the administration of the selection of persons for nomination to judicial posts, and authorizing prosecutions. In normal circumstances, the prosecutorial powers of the Attorney-General are exercised by the Director of Public Prosecutions and staff; however, the Attorney-General maintains formal control, including the power to initiate and terminate public prosecutions and take over private prosecutions. Statutory criminal law provides that prosecutions for certain offences require the individual consent of the Attorney-General. This is generally for offences whose illegality is of a somewhat controversial nature or where there is perceived to be a significant risk that prosecutions of a political nature may be embarked upon. The Attorney-General also generally has the power to issue certificates legally conclusive of certain facts (e.g., that the revelation of certain matters in court proceedings might constitute a risk to national security); the facts stated in such certificates must be accepted by the courts and cannot legally be disputed by any parties. The Attorney-General also has the power to issue a nolle prosequi with respect to a case, which authoritatively determines that the state (in whose name prosecutions are brought) does not wish to prosecute the case, so preventing any person from doing so.

For the Attorneys-General of the various states and territories of Australia see:

Canada

The Attorney General of Canada (French: Procureur général du Canada) is a separate title held by the Canadian Minister of Justice (Ministre de la Justice), a member of the Cabinet. The Minister of Justice is concerned with questions of policy and their relationship to the justice system. In their role as attorney general, they are the chief law officer of the Crown.

A separate cabinet position, the Minister of Public Safety (Ministre de la Sécurité publique), formerly the "Solicitor General", administers the law enforcement agencies (police, prisons, and security) of the federal government.

For the Attorneys-General of the various provinces of Canada see:

Fiji

In Fiji, the role of the Attorney General is defined as "providing essential legal expertise and support to the Government". More specific functions include "legislative drafting", "legal aid", "the prerogative of mercy" (advising the President), "liquor licensing" and "film censorship".[7]

The current Attorney General is Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. In January 2008, he sparked controversy by accepting other government positions in addition to his role as Attorney General. Sayed-Khaiyum is currently responsible also for "Public Enterprise, Electoral Reform and Anti-Corruption". An article in the Fiji Times pointed out that "never before in the history of this nation has the Attorney-General held a portfolio dealing with matters other than the law and the judiciary", and criticised the decision.[8]

Hong Kong

The Secretary for Justice, known as the Attorney-General before the Transfer of the Sovereignty in 1997, is the legal adviser to the Hong Kong Government and heads the Department of Justice. They are assisted by five law officers, namely:

(The Administration and Development Division is headed by an Administrative Officer.)

Crimes and offences are prosecuted at the suit of the Secretary of Justice.

The Secretary of Justice, appointed by the Chinese government on the advice of the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, is an ex officio member of the Executive Council of Hong Kong. The position is normally held by a legal professional, and was, before July 2002, a civil service position.

Ireland

The Mission of the Office of the Attorney General is to provide the highest standard of professional legal services to Government, Departments and Offices.

The Attorney General of Ireland is the legal adviser to the Government and is therefore the chief law officer of the State. The Office of the Attorney General, is made up of a number of different offices:

  • The Attorney General's Office (located at Merrion Street, Dublin 2) containing the Advisory Counsel to the Attorney General
  • The Office of Parliamentary Counsel to the Government (also located at Merrion Street, Dublin 2) containing the Parliamentary Counsel who draft legislation and have responsibilities in the area of Statute Law revision
  • The Chief State Solicitor's Office (CSSO) (located at Little Ship Street, Dublin 8) containing the solicitors representing the Attorney and the State

Since the enactment of the Prosecution of Offenses Act 1974 the responsibility for the prosecution of indictable criminal offences is mostly in the hands of the Director of Public Prosecutions who is by law independent of the Attorney General and the State. The current attorney general is Séamus Woulfe, SC.

Isle of Man

In the Isle of Man, the Attorney General is a Crown appointment (appointed by the UK government) and sits in the Legislative Council of the Isle of Man, 'ex officio'.

Israel

The Attorney General of Israel is the head of the public prosecution from the state, the person who advises the government in legal matters, the person who represents the state's authorities in the courts, and advises in preparation of law memoranda of the government in general and the Justice Minister in particular (likewise he examines and advises for private proposals for a law of Knesset members).

Jamaica

This is a position which existed in Jamaica for a long time.

The Hon. Marlene Malahoo Forte, QC, MP is the new Attorney General of Jamaica as of March 7, 2016.[9]

Kenya

In Kenya the Attorney General is the Principal Legal Adviser to the Government and ex officio Member of Parliament and Cabinet. His duties include the formulation of legal policy and ensuring proper administration of Kenya's legal system including professional legal education. Assisting the Attorney General in the performance of his duties as Principal Legal Adviser to the Government are:

  • Solicitor General
  • Senior Deputy Solicitor General
  • Director of Public Prosecutions
  • Registrar General
  • Administrator General
  • Chairman of Advocates Complaints Commission
  • Chief Parliamentary Counsel
  • Chief State Counsel

Kiribati

In Kiribati, the Attorney General is defined by section 42 of the Constitution as "the principal legal adviser to the Government". The Constitution specifies: "No person shall be qualified to hold or to act in the office of Attorney-General unless he is qualified to practise in Kiribati as an advocate in the High Court." The current Attorney General, as of 2016, is the Honourable Tetiro Semilota.[10]

Malaysia

In Malaysia the Attorney-General or Peguam Negara (as he is referred to in Bahasa Malaysia) is the principal legal adviser to the Government. He is also the principal public prosecutor in the country, and is also known as the Public Prosecutor. He has the power, exercisable at his discretion, to institute, conduct or discontinue any proceedings for an offence, other than proceedings before a Syariah court, a native court or a court-martial. The current Attorney-General of Malaysia is Tommy Thomas since 2018.

Mauritius

In Mauritius, the Attorney-General, who should be a barrister, is the principal legal adviser to the government and holds the office of a minister.

The Attorney-General's Office is also responsible for the drafting of legislation, and vetting of all contracts or agreements of which the government is a party, including international agreements, treaties or conventions.

Nepal

In Nepal, the Attorney General is the chief legal adviser of Government of Nepal as well as its chief public prosecutor. An Attorney General is appointed by the President on the recommendation of Prime Minister. The Attorney General's Office is a constitutional body under the Constitution of Nepal (2072). For a person to be eligible for the post of Attorney General, they must also be qualified to be appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court.[11]

New Zealand

In New Zealand, the Attorney-General is the chief law officer and primary legal advisor of the New Zealand government.[12] The Attorney-General is the Minister responsible for the Crown Law Office, the Parliamentary Counsel Office, and the Serious Fraud Office.[12] Historically, the post could be held either by a politician or by a senior jurist, but today, it is invariably held by a member of Parliament. The Attorney-General attends Cabinet, but the post is not the same as the Minister of Justice. By tradition, persons appointed to the position of Attorney-General have been lawyers. Only two former Attorneys-General have not been lawyers, most recently Dr Michael Cullen who held the post in 2005, and again from 2006.

Pakistan

The Attorney-General of Pakistan is the legal adviser to the government of the Pakistan and its public prosecutor.

Philippines

The Attorney General of the Philippines was an office that existed from 1901 until 1932, when the office was abolished and its functions taken over by the Secretary of Justice. Since then, the Solicitor General of the Philippines, previously the second law officer, has been the principal law officer and legal defender of the Philippine Government. The Office of the Solicitor General is the law firm of the Republic of the Philippines. It is tasked with representing the Philippines, the Philippine Government, and all its officials in any litigation or matter requiring the services of a lawyer especially before appellate courts.[13] It is an independent and autonomous office attached to the Department of Justice for budgetary purposes.[14]

Samoa

In Samoa, the Attorney General is the legal adviser to the government. The current Attorney General is Aumua Ming Leung Wai.[15]

Singapore

The Attorney-General of Singapore is the legal adviser to the government of the Republic of Singapore and its public prosecutor. The current Attorney-General is Lucien Wong.

Sri Lanka

The Attorney-General of Sri Lanka is the chief legal adviser of the Government of Sri Lanka and head of the Attorney-General department which is the public prosecutor.

Tonga

The office of Attorney General was established in Tonga in 1988, and was held jointly with the portfolio of Justice Minister until the two were separated in 2009.[16][17] The Attorney General is defined as the "Chief Legal Advisor to Government".[18]

Trinidad & Tobago

According to the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago, the supreme law of the nation, The Attorney General shall be responsible for the administration of legal affairs in Trinidad and Tobago and legal proceedings for and against the State shall be taken— (a) in the case of civil proceedings, in the name of the Attorney General; (b) in the case of criminal proceedings, in the name of the State.

United Kingdom

England and Wales

The Attorney General for England and Wales is similarly the chief law officer of the Crown in England and Wales, and advises and represents the Crown and government departments in court. In practice, the Treasury Solicitor (who also has the title of Procurator General) normally provides the lawyers or briefs Treasury Counsel to appear in court, although the Attorney General may appear in person. The person appointed to this role provides legal advice to the Government, acts as the representative of the public interest and resolves issues between government departments.

The Attorney General has supervisory powers over the prosecution of criminal offences, but is not personally involved with prosecutions; however, some prosecutions (e.g. riot) cannot be commenced without their consent, and they have the power to halt prosecutions generally. Criminal prosecutions are the responsibility of the Crown Prosecution Service, headed by the Director of Public Prosecutions. The Attorney General may appeal cases to the higher courts where, although the particular case is settled, there may be a point of law of public importance at issue.

The Attorney General's deputy is the Solicitor General for England and Wales.

Under the Government of Wales Act 2006, the Counsel General is the chief legal adviser to the Welsh Assembly Government.

Northern Ireland

Since the prorogation of the Parliament of Northern Ireland in 1972, the Attorney General for England and Wales was also Attorney General for Northern Ireland. The separate office of Attorney General for Northern Ireland was re-created alongside the new office of Advocate General for Northern Ireland upon the devolution of policing and justice powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly in 2010.

Scotland

Under the recent constitutional reforms, the Lord Advocate has become an officer of the Scottish Government, while the United Kingdom Government is advised on Scots law by the Advocate General for Scotland.

The Lord Advocate is assisted by the Solicitor General for Scotland.

Other attorneys-general in the UK

The Attorney General of the Duchy of Cornwall is the chief legal adviser to the Prince of Wales, and there is a separate Attorney General for the Duchy of Lancaster, an appointment that is held by the Crown.

United States

In the federal government of the United States, the Attorney General is a member of the Cabinet and, as head of the Department of Justice, is the top law enforcement officer and lawyer for the government. The Attorney General may need to be distinguished from the Solicitor General, a high Justice Department official with the responsibility of representing the government before the Supreme Court. In cases of exceptional importance, however, the Attorney General may choose personally to represent the government to the Supreme Court.

The individual U.S. states and territories, as well as the federal district of Washington, D.C. also have attorneys general with similar responsibilities. The majority of state attorneys general are chosen by popular election, as opposed to the U.S. Attorney General, who is a presidential appointee confirmed by the Senate.

In nearly all United States jurisdictions the attorney general is the chief law enforcement officer of that jurisdiction, and as such attorney general may also be considered a police rank. The proper form of addressing a person holding the office is addressed Mister or Madam Attorney General, or just as Attorney General. The plural is "Attorneys General" or "Attorneys-General".

Zimbabwe

The Attorney General is the chief legal advisor of the government of Zimbabwe. The office falls under the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs.

Similar offices in non-common law jurisdictions

Non-common law jurisdictions usually have one or more offices which are similar to attorneys-general in common law jurisdictions, some of which use "attorney-general" as the English translation of their titles.

Netherlands

In the Netherlands, there are two types of attorneys-general, that are only historically related.

The first type of attorney-general ("advocaat-generaal" in Dutch) is the public prosecutor in criminal cases at appellate courts.

The second type of attorney-general ("procureur-generaal", while their replacements are called "advocaat-generaal") is an independent advisor to the Supreme Court. These people give an opinion on cases (called "conclusies") in any field of law (not just criminal law), supported by a scientific staff. The Supreme Court may either follow or reject the opinion of the attorney-general (which is published together with the eventual decision). In a way, an attorney-general acts as yet another judge, but in the Dutch system that does not allow dissenting opinions to be published, it is the only way to reflect different perceptions on a case. The Procureur-Generaal also prosecutes members of parliament in the case of misfeance.[19]

Dutch attorneys-general do not normally advise the government.

Vietnam

Lists of countries, states or territories with attorneys-general

See Justice ministry § Related articles and lists

References

Citations

  1. ^ "Attorney General definition and meaning - Collins English Dictionary". www.collinsdictionary.com.
  2. ^ Company, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing. "The American Heritage Dictionary entry: attorney general". www.ahdictionary.com.
  3. ^ "Definition of ATTORNEY GENERAL". www.merriam-webster.com.
  4. ^ a b Pinker, Steven (1999). Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language (1st ed.). New York, NY: Basic Books. pp. 25, 28. ISBN 0-465-07269-0. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  5. ^ "U.S. Attorneys Generals Protest Trump's Ban: Liberty Is Bedrock of Our Country". Haaretz.com. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  6. ^ "Former Attorneys Generals at Work". New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  7. ^ Office of the Attorney General Archived October 24, 2015, at the Wayback Machine (Fiji), official website.
  8. ^ "Role of the Attorney-General" Archived 2008-01-01 at the Wayback Machine, Fiji Times, January 6, 2008.
  9. ^ Carter, Jediael (9 March 2016). "Women welcome appointment to executive". The Jamaica Observer. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  10. ^ "Kiribati appoints first female Attorney-General". www.pressreader.com. September 30, 2016.
  11. ^ "Office Of The Attorney General". Archived from the original on 2013-09-19. Retrieved 4 July 2015.
  12. ^ a b Briefing Paper for the Attorney-General (Crown Law Office, October 2017) at 3.
  13. ^ "Main". 7 February 2011. Archived from the original on 7 February 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2017.
  14. ^ "Welcome to the Department of Justice - Republic of the Philippines | Tel: (+632) 523 8481, (+632) 523 6826". Doj.gov.ph. Archived from the original on 2012-03-10. Retrieved 2012-05-04.
  15. ^ Tait, Maggie (12 May 2008). "Customary land excluded from Samoa bill". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  16. ^ "Minister of Justice and Attorney General resigns" Archived May 27, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Matangi Tonga, June 1, 2009
  17. ^ "Tonga's new Attorney General" Archived 2011-05-27 at the Wayback Machine, Matangi Tonga, June 2, 2009
  18. ^ "Attorney General of the Kingdom of Tonga", Tongan government website, March 11, 2009
  19. ^ "wetten.nl - Regeling - Wet op de rechterlijke organisatie - BWBR0001830". wetten.overheid.nl. Retrieved 2017-01-11.

Sources

  • Barzilai, Gad; Nachmias, David (1997). The Attorney General: Authority and Responsibility. Principles, Institutions in Comparative Perspective, Analysis and Recommendations for Reforms. No. 6. Jerusalem: Israel Institute for Democracy.
  • Barzilai, Gad (2010). The Attorney General and the State Prosecutor: Is Institutional Separation Warranted?. Jerusalem: Israel Institute for Democracy.

External links

2010 California Attorney General election

The 2010 California Attorney General election was held on November 2, 2010 to choose the Attorney General of California. The primary election was held on June 8, 2010. Incumbent Attorney General Jerry Brown, a Democrat was elected Governor of California.

The two major candidates were Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley of the Republican Party and San Francisco County District Attorney Kamala Harris representing the Democratic Party. On November 24, 2010, Cooley conceded to Harris, giving the Democrats a sweep of statewide executive offices. On November 30, Harris declared victory. Harris was the state's first female African-American and the nation's first Asian-American state attorney general when her term began in January 2011.

Attorney General for England and Wales

Her Majesty's Attorney General for England and Wales, usually known simply as the Attorney General (A.G), is one of the Law Officers of the Crown. The Attorney General serves as the chief legal adviser to the Crown and the Government in England and Wales, and though they maintain their own office, they are still subordinate to the Cabinet-level Secretary of State for Justice (Lord Chancellor). The Solicitor General for England and Wales serves as the next in command and is subordinate to the Attorney General.

The position of Attorney General existed since at least 1243, when records show a professional attorney was hired to represent the King's interests in court. The position first took on a political role in 1461 when the holder of the office was summoned to the House of Lords to advise the government there on legal matters. In 1673 the Attorney General officially became the Crown's adviser and representative in legal matters, although still specialising in litigation rather than advice. The beginning of the twentieth century saw a shift away from litigation and more towards legal advice. Today prosecutions are carried out by the Crown Prosecution Service and most legal advice to government departments is provided by the Government Legal Service, both under the supervision of the Attorney General.

The job of the Attorney General is a demanding one, and Sir Patrick Hastings wrote while serving that "to be a law officer is to be in hell". Duties include superintending the Crown Prosecution Service, the Serious Fraud Office, and other government lawyers with the authority to prosecute cases. Additionally, the Attorney General superintends the Government Legal Department (formerly the Treasury Solicitor's Department), HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate and the Service Prosecuting Authority. The Attorney advises the government, individual government departments and individual government ministers on legal matters, answering questions in Parliament and bringing "unduly lenient" sentences and points of law to the Court of Appeal of England and Wales. Since the passing of the Law Officers Act 1997 duties can be delegated to the Solicitor General, and any actions are treated as if they came from the Attorney General.

Attorney General of California

The Attorney General of California is the state attorney general of the Government of California. The officer's duty is to ensure that "the laws of the state are uniformly and adequately enforced" (Constitution of California, Article V, Section 13.) The Attorney General carries out the responsibilities of the office through the California Department of Justice. The Department employs over 1,100 attorneys (meaning that the AG supervises the governmental equivalent of a law firm much larger than the vast majority of U.S. private law firms) and 3,700 non-attorney employees.

The California Attorney General is elected to a four-year term, with a maximum of two terms. The election is held at the same statewide election as the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Controller, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Insurance Commissioner.

Attorney General of Minnesota

The Attorney General of Minnesota is the state Attorney General of the U.S. state of Minnesota. The Attorney General is the state's chief legal officer and is an executive position elected by the voters for a four-year term.

The Office of the Minnesota Attorney General represents and provides legal advice to over 100 agencies, boards, and commissions of the government of Minnesota. The Office represents the state in state and federal court, as well as in administrative adjudication and rulemaking hearings. The Office handles felony criminal appeals, advises local prosecutors in the conduct of criminal trials and handles cases at the request of local prosecutors. In addition, the Office issues formal opinions interpreting statutes for the agencies and political subdivisions of the state.

The Minnesota Attorney General is a member of the Minnesota Executive Council, the Minnesota Board of Investment, the Minnesota Board of Pardons, and the Minnesota Land Exchange Board.

The current Attorney General is Keith Ellison.

Attorney General of New York

The Attorney General of New York is the chief legal officer of the U.S. state of New York and head of the Department of Law of the state government. The office has been in existence in some form since 1626, under the Dutch colonial government of New York.

Letitia James currently serves as Attorney General, in office since January 1, 2019.

Attorney General of Virginia

The Attorney General of Virginia is an elected constitutional position that holds an executive office in the government of Virginia. Attorneys General are elected for a four-year term in the year following a presidential election (2005, 2009, 2013, etc.). There are no term limits restricting the number of terms someone can serve as Attorney General.

Eric Holder

Eric Himpton Holder Jr. (born January 21, 1951) is an American lawyer who served as the 82nd Attorney General of the United States from 2009 to 2015. Holder, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama, was the first African American to hold the position of U.S. Attorney General (in both a confirmed and acting position).Born in New York City to a middle class family of Barbadian origins, Holder was raised in a predominantly black community but attended school with mostly white students as part of a gifted education program. He graduated from Stuyvesant High School, Columbia College, and Columbia Law School. Following law school, he left New York to work for the Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice for 12 years. He next served as a judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia before being appointed by President Bill Clinton as United States Attorney for the District of Columbia and subsequently Deputy Attorney General. While U.S. Attorney, he prosecuted Congressman Dan Rostenkowski for corruption charges related to his role in the Congressional Post Office scandal.

Following the Clinton administration, he worked at the law firm of Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C. He was senior legal advisor to Barack Obama during Obama's presidential campaign and one of three members of Obama's vice-presidential selection committee. Holder was a close ally and confidant of Obama's and was selected as President Obama's first Attorney General. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives held Holder in contempt of Congress during an investigation of the ATF gunwalking scandal; the Justice Department's Inspector General later cleared Holder of any wrongdoing. Holder was succeeded as Attorney General by Loretta Lynch in April 2015. He returned to Covington & Burling, where he continues to practice, and is also involved with efforts at gerrymandering reform through the National Democratic Redistricting Committee.

Jeff Sessions

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III (born December 24, 1946) is an American politician and lawyer who served as the 84th United States Attorney General from 2017 to 2018. A Republican, Sessions previously served as United States Senator from Alabama from 1997 to 2017, resigning from the position in order to serve in the Trump administration.

From 1981 to 1993, he served as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama. Sessions was nominated in 1986 to be a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, but was not confirmed. Sessions was elected Attorney General of Alabama in 1994, and to the U.S. Senate in 1996, being re-elected in 2002, 2008, and 2014. During his time in Congress, Sessions was considered one of the most conservative members of the U.S. Senate.

Sessions was an early supporter of Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, and was nominated by Trump for the post of U.S. Attorney General. He was confirmed on February 8, 2017, with a 52–47 vote in the Senate, and was sworn in on February 9, 2017. In his Attorney General confirmation hearings, Sessions stated, while under oath, that he did not have contact with Russian officials during the 2016 presidential campaign and that he was unaware of any contacts between Trump campaign members and Russian officials. However, in March 2017, news reports revealed that Sessions had twice met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in 2016. Sessions subsequently recused himself from any investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections, while some Democratic lawmakers called for his resignation. In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee in November 2017, Carter Page declared that he had notified Sessions about his contacts with Kremlin officials in July 2016, contradicting Sessions's earlier denials.As U.S. Attorney General, Sessions overturned a memo delivered by one of his predecessors, Eric Holder, that had sought to curb mass incarceration by avoiding mandatory sentencing, and ordered federal prosecutors to begin seeking the maximum criminal charges possible. Sessions signed an order adopting civil asset forfeiture, which allows law enforcement to seize the property of those suspected but not charged with crimes. A staunch opponent of illegal immigration, Sessions adopted a hard-line on so-called sanctuary cities and told reporters that cities failing to comply with federal immigration policy would lose federal funding; Trump issued an executive order revoking the funding from the cities, but it was successfully challenged by San Francisco and forbidden from enforcement by a federal judge. As Attorney General, Sessions supported allowing the Department of Justice to prosecute providers of medical marijuana.On November 7, 2018, the day after the midterm elections, Sessions tendered his resignation at Trump's request, following a months long public and private contention between Trump and Sessions over his recusal.

Justice minister

A justice ministry, ministry of justice, or department of justice is a ministry or other government agency in charge of the administration of justice. The ministry or department is often headed by a minister of justice (called minister for justice in only very few countries) or secretary of justice. In countries where this agency is called a department (usually department of justice, sometimes attorney general's department) the head of the department is entitled attorney general, for example in the United States. Monaco is an example of a country that does not have a ministry of justice, but rather a Directorate of Judicial Services (Secretary of Justice) that oversees the administration of justice. Vatican City, a country under the sovereignty of the Holy See, also does not possess a ministry of justice. The legislative body (which includes a legal office) is overseen by the President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State.

Depending on the country, specific duties may relate to organizing the justice system, overseeing the public prosecutor and national investigative agencies (e.g. Federal Bureau of Investigation), and maintaining the legal system and public order. Some ministries have additional responsibilities in related policy areas overseeing elections, directing the police, law reform, and administration of the immigration and citizenship services. The duties of the ministry of justice may in some countries be split from separate responsibilities of an attorney general (often responsible for the justice system) and the interior minister (often responsible for public order). Sometimes the prison system is separated into another government department called Corrective Services.

Kamala Harris

Kamala Devi Harris ( KAH-mə-lə; born October 20, 1964) is an American attorney and politician who has served as the junior United States Senator from California since 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, she previously served as the 32nd Attorney General of California from 2011 to 2017, and as the 27th District Attorney of San Francisco from 2004 to 2011. On January 21, 2019, she officially announced her campaign to run for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the 2020 United States presidential election.

Harris was born in Oakland, California, and is a graduate of Howard University and University of California, Hastings College of the Law. In the 1990s, she worked in the San Francisco District Attorney's Office and the City Attorney of San Francisco's office. In 2004, she was elected District attorney of San Francisco.

Harris was narrowly elected as California's Attorney General in 2010 and was reelected in 2014 by a wide margin. On November 8, 2016, she defeated Loretta Sanchez in the 2016 Senate election to succeed outgoing Senator Barbara Boxer, becoming California's third female U.S. Senator, and the first of Jamaican or Indian ancestry.Since becoming a Senator, Harris has supported Medicare-for-all, legalization of recreational marijuana, sanctuary cities, passing a DREAM Act, and lowering taxes for the working and middle classes while raising taxes on corporations and the wealthiest top 1% of Americans.

Harris launched her presidential campaign on January 27, 2019, where she vowed to fight for the "largest middle class tax cut in a generation."

Minister of Justice (Canada)

The Minister of Justice (French: Ministre de la Justice) is the Minister of the Crown in the Canadian Cabinet who is responsible for the Department of Justice, chief federal legal adviser and is also Attorney General of Canada (French: Procureur général du Canada).

This cabinet position is usually reserved for someone holding a legal qualification. There have been exceptions: Joe Clark only studied the first year of law at University of British Columbia Faculty of Law before embarking on political life.

This cabinet portfolio has been held by many individuals who went on to become Prime Minister including John Sparrow David Thompson, R. B. Bennett, Louis St Laurent, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, John Turner, Kim Campbell and Jean Chrétien (Clark became Minister after his time as Prime Minister). This is the only Canadian Ministry (other than that of the Prime Minister) which has not been reorganized since its creation in 1867.

New Jersey Attorney General

The attorney general of New Jersey is a member of the executive cabinet of the state and oversees the Department of Law and Public Safety. The office is appointed by the Governor of New Jersey, confirmed by the New Jersey Senate, and term limited. Under the provisions of the New Jersey State Constitution, the Attorney General serves a concurrent four-year term to the governor. Gurbir Grewal was nominated as Attorney General by Governor Phil Murphy. Grewal is the first Sikh attorney general in the United States.The conventional wisdom is that the Attorney General cannot be removed from office except "for cause" by the Governor or by way of legislative impeachment.It is fifth in the line of succession after the Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey, President of the New Jersey Senate, and Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly. The Attorney General cannot also serve as the Lieutenant Governor.

Pennsylvania Attorney General

The Pennsylvania Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It became an elected office in 1980. The current Attorney General is Democrat Josh Shapiro.

On August 15, 2016, then-Attorney General Kathleen Kane was convicted of criminal charges, including conspiracy, perjury, and obstruction of justice, and announced her resignation the following day, effective August 17. Consequently, as the Solicitor General, Bruce Castor assumed the office as Acting Attorney General. Governor Tom Wolf nominated Bruce Beemer to serve out the remaining balance of Kane's term which expired in January 2017 in which Democrat Josh Shapiro succeeded Bruce Beemer.

Rod Rosenstein

Rod Jay Rosenstein (; born January 13, 1965) is an American attorney serving as United States Deputy Attorney General since 2017. Prior to his current appointment, he served as a United States Attorney for the District of Maryland. At the time of his confirmation as Deputy Attorney General in April 2017, he was the nation's longest-serving U.S. Attorney. Rosenstein had also been nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in 2007, but his nomination was never considered by the U.S. Senate.President Donald Trump nominated Rosenstein to serve as Deputy Attorney General for the United States Department of Justice on February 1, 2017. Rosenstein was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on April 25, 2017. In May 2017, he authored a memo that President Trump cited as the basis for his decision to dismiss FBI Director James Comey.Following the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Comey's dismissal, Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 elections and related matters. Rosenstein previously assumed authority over the parallel FBI probe after the recusal of former attorney general Jeff Sessions over misleading remarks he made to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary during his confirmation process. On November 7, 2018, Trump transferred command of this oversight to acting US Attorney General Matthew Whitaker.

State attorney general

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 current party composition of the state attorneys general are:

26 Democrats

24 RepublicansThe composition for the District of Columbia and the 5 populated territories are:

4 Democrats

2 Independent

Texas Attorney General

The Texas Attorney General is the chief legal officer of the State of Texas. Republican Ken Paxton has served in this position since January 5, 2015.

The department has offices at the William P. Clements State Office Building in Downtown Austin.

United States Attorney General

The United States Attorney General (A.G.) is the chief lawyer of the federal government of the United States and head of the United States Department of Justice per 28 U.S.C. § 503, concerned with all legal affairs.

Under the Appointments Clause of the United States Constitution, the officeholder is nominated by the President of the United States and appointed with the advice and consent of the United States Senate. The U.S. Constitution provides that civil officers of the United States, which would include the U.S. Attorney General, may be impeached by Congress for treason, bribery or high crimes and misdemeanors. The United States Attorney General may be removed at will by the President of the United States under the Supreme Court decision Myers v. United States, which found that executive branch officials may be removed without the consent of any entity. In cases of the federal death penalty, the power to seek the death penalty rests with the U.S. Attorney General.

The current Attorney General is William Barr.

United States Department of Justice

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ), also known as the Justice Department, is a federal executive department of the U.S. government, responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice in the United States, equivalent to the justice or interior ministries of other countries. The department was formed in 1870 during the Ulysses S. Grant administration.

The Department of Justice administers several federal law enforcement agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The department is responsible for investigating instances of financial fraud, representing the United States government in legal matters (such as in cases before the Supreme Court), and running the federal prison system. The department is also responsible for reviewing the conduct of local law enforcement as directed by the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.The department is headed by the United States Attorney General, who is nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate and is a member of the Cabinet. The current Attorney General is William Barr.

William Barr

William Pelham Barr (born May 23, 1950) is an American attorney who is the current United States Attorney General. This marks his second stint as AG, as he previously served from 1991 to 1993 under the George H. W. Bush administration, and returned beginning in 2019 under the Trump administration. Before becoming attorney general the first time, Barr held numerous other posts within the U.S. Justice Department, including serving as Deputy Attorney General from 1990 to 1991 under George H. W. Bush. He is a member of the Republican Party.

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