Massachusetts Attorney General

The Massachusetts Attorney General is an elected constitutionally defined executive officer of the Massachusetts Government. The officeholder is the chief lawyer and law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The officeholder also acts as an advocate and resource for the Commonwealth and its residents in many areas, including consumer protection, combating fraud and corruption, protecting civil rights, and maintaining economic competition. The current Attorney General is Maura Healey.

Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Seal of Massachusetts
Maura Healey official photo
Incumbent
Maura Healey

since January 21, 2015
StyleHer Honor
Term lengthFour years
Inaugural holderPaul Dudley
Formation1702
Websitewww.mass.gov/ago

History

When the 1780 state constitution was first enacted, the Attorney General was appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Governor's Council. The office was abolished in 1843 and re-established in 1849. In 1855 the constitution was amended so that the Attorney General (along with a number of other constitutionally enumerated offices) was elected by the people. The length of the term of office has matched that of the governor, and elections are held concurrently with those for other constitutional office. Elections were first held annually, became biennial (every two years) in 1920, and quadrennial (every four years) in 1966.

Organization

The Office of the Attorney General is organized into six Bureaus: Executive; Energy and Environmental; Criminal; Government; Health Care and Fair Competition; and Public Protection and Advocacy. Each bureau is divided into divisions and teams. These Bureaus and Divisions have distinct missions, but work closely together to ensure the Attorney General’s Office provides the highest level of public protection.

List of Attorneys General

No. Attorney General Term Party
1 Paul Dudley July 1702 – November 1718
2 John Valentine November 1718 – June 1720
3 Thomas Newton June 1720 – May 1721
Vacant Vacant May 1721 – June 1722
4 John Overing June 1722 – June 1723
5 Vacant June 1723 – June 1725
6 John Read June 1725 – June 1728
7 Joseph Hiller June 1728 – June 1729
8 John Overing June 1729 – June 1736
9 William Brattle William Brattle by John Copley, Boston.png June 1736 – June 1738
10 Edmund Trowbridge June 1738 – March 1767
11 Jeremiah Gridley Jeremiah Gridley by John Smibert Harvard (1731).jpg March 1767 – September 1767
12 Vacant September 1767 – November 1767
13 Jonathan Sewall November 1767 – September 1774
14 Vacant September 1774 – June 1777
15 Robert Treat Paine Robert Treat Paine portrait.jpg June 19, 1778–1790
16 James Sullivan James Sullivan.jpg 1790–1807 Democratic-Republican
17 Barnabas Bidwell BarnabasBidwellByJohnBrewsterJr.jpg June 15, 1807 – August 30, 1810 Democratic-Republican
18 Perez Morton PerezMorton byFevretDeSaintMemin.png 1810–1832 Democratic-Republican
19 James T. Austin 1832–1843 National Republican Party
Vacant Office Abolished from 1843 to 1849.
20 John H. Clifford JohnHClifford.jpg 1849–1853 Whig
21 Rufus Choate RufusChoate.jpg 1853 – May 12, 1854 Whig
22 John H. Clifford JohnHClifford.jpg 1854–1858 Whig
23 Stephen Henry Phillips Stephen Henry Phillips.jpg 1858–1861 Republican
24 Dwight Foster Dwight Foster (1828–1884).png 1861–1864 Republican
25 Chester I. Reed Chester I. Reed.png 1864 – April 20, 1867 Republican
26 Charles Allen Charles Allen (jurist).png 1867–1872 Republican
27 Charles R. Train CRTrain.jpg 1872–1879 Republican
28 George Marston George Marston (Massachusetts).png 1879–1883 Republican
29 Edgar J. Sherman Edgar J. Sherman.png 1883 – October 1, 1887 Republican
30 Andrew J. Waterman Andrew J. Waterman.png 1887–1891 Republican
31 Albert E. Pillsbury Albert E. Pillsbury.png 1891–1894 Republican
32 Hosea M. Knowlton Hosea M. Knowlton cph.3b32615.jpg 1894–1902 Republican
33 Herbert Parker Herbert Parker.png 1902–1906 Republican
34 Dana Malone Dana Malone.png 1906–1911 Republican
35 James M. Swift James M. Swift.png 1911–1914 Republican
36 Thomas J. Boynton Thomas J. Boynton (Massachusetts).png 1914–1915 Democratic
37 Henry Converse Atwill Henry Converse Atwill.png 1915–1919 Republican
Acting Henry A. Wyman 1919–1920 Republican
38 J. Weston Allen J. Weston Allen.png 1920–1923 Republican
39 Jay R. Benton Jay R. Benton.png 1923–1927 Republican
40 Arthur K. Reading 1927 – June 6, 1928 Republican
41 Joseph E. Warner Joseph E. Warner.png 1928–1935 Republican
42 Paul A. Dever PaulADever.jpg 1935–1941 Democratic
43 Robert T. Bushnell 1941–1945 Republican
44 Clarence A. Barnes 1945–1949 Republican
45 Francis E. Kelly 1949–1953 Democratic
46 George Fingold 1953 – August 31, 1958 Republican
47 Edward J. McCormack, Jr. Edward J. McCormack (10559283335).jpg September 11, 1958 – January 1963 Democratic
48 Edward Brooke Edward Brooke.jpg January 1963–January 2, 1967 Republican
Interim Edward T. Martin January 2, 1967 – January 18, 1967 Republican
49 Elliot Richardson ElliotLeeRichardson.jpg January 18, 1967 – January 1969 Republican
50 Robert H. Quinn January 1969 – January 1975 Democratic
51 Francis X. Bellotti Francis X. Bellotti.jpg January 1975 – January 1987 Democratic
52 James Shannon James Shannon.jpg January 1987 – January 1991 Democratic
53 L. Scott Harshbarger Scott Harshbarger2.jpg January 1991 – January 1999 Democratic
54 Thomas Reilly January 1999 – January 2007 Democratic
55 Martha Coakley Coakleycrop.jpg January 2007 – January 2015 Democratic
56 Maura Healey Maura Healey.jpg January 2015 – Present Democratic

References

External links

1807 Massachusetts's 12th congressional district special election

A special election was held in Massachusetts's 12th congressional district in 1807 to fill a vacancy left by the resignation of Barnabas Bidwell (DR), who had been appointed Massachusetts Attorney General on July 13 of that year.

1950 Massachusetts general election

A Massachusetts general election was held on November 7, 1950 in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The election included:

statewide elections for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of the Commonwealth, Treasurer, and Auditor;

district elections for U.S. Representatives, State Representatives, State Senators, and Governor's Councillors; and

ballot questions at the state and local levels.Democratic and Republican candidates were selected in party primaries held on September 19, 1950.

1958 Massachusetts general election

A Massachusetts general election was held on November 4, 1958 in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The election included:

statewide elections for United States Senator, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of the Commonwealth, Treasurer, and Auditor;

district elections for U.S. Representatives, State Representatives, State Senators, and Governor's Councillors; and

ballot questions at the state and local levels.Democratic and Republican candidates were selected in party primaries held on September 9, 1958.

1974 Massachusetts general election

A Massachusetts general election was held on November 3, 1974 in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The election included:

statewide elections for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of the Commonwealth, Treasurer, and Auditor;

district elections for U.S. Representatives, State Representatives, State Senators, and Governor's Councillors; and

ballot questions at the state and local levels.Democratic and Republican candidates were selected in party primaries held September 10, 1974.

Arthur Kenneth Reading

Arthur Kenneth Reading (March 9, 1887 – March 1, 1971) was an American politician who served as Massachusetts Attorney General from 1927–1928.

Barnabas Bidwell

Barnabas Bidwell (August 23, 1763 – July 27, 1833) was an author, teacher, and politician of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, active in Massachusetts and Upper Canada. Educated at Yale, he practised law in western Massachusetts and served as treasurer of Berkshire County. He served in the state legislature as representative and senator, in the US Congress as spokesman for the administration of Thomas Jefferson. He was effective in defending the administration's positions and passing important legislation, and was the Massachusetts Attorney General from 1807 to 1810, when exaggerated press accounts of irregularities in the Berkshire County books halted his political career and prompted his flight to Upper Canada. Bidwell later paid the $63.18, plus fines, which he attributed to a Berkshire County clerk while he was away on duties in Boston. Nonetheless, the controversy, exaggerated in the press by his Federalist Party enemies, effectively scuppered his potential appointment to the US Supreme Court.

In Canada, he won a seat in the provincial assembly but his political opponents managed to expel him on charges of having his American citizenship, being a fugitive, and having immoral character.

Dwight Foster (1828–1884)

Dwight Foster (December 13, 1828 – April 18, 1884) was an American lawyer and politician from Massachusetts. He served as Massachusetts Attorney General and was an associate justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

Francis Bellotti

Francis Xavier Bellotti (born May 3, 1923) is an American lawyer and politician. In his first campaign he was the Democratic nominee for District Attorney of Norfolk County in 1958, but was defeated in the general election. In 1962 Bellotti was elected as Lieutenant Governor for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from 1963 to 1965.

In 1964 he had challenged the sitting governor of his own party, Endicott Peabody, and defeated him in the Democratic Primary; but lost in the general election to John Volpe who thus regained the seat he had lost in 1962. From 1975 to 1987 he served three terms as Massachusetts Attorney General. In that capacity he instilled professionalism among his staff, was a leader for civil rights and served as President of the National Association of Attorneys General. He sought the nomination of the Democratic party for governor in 1970 and in 1990, but was defeated in the Democratic primary election in both elections losing to Kevin White the first time and John Silber the second.

In his official capacity for the state he was the named party in the commercial speech case: First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, 435 U.S. 765 (1978), which established that corporations have some free speech rights under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.Bellotti was born in Boston. He graduated from Tufts University in 1947 and received his law degree from Boston College in 1952. Since leaving office, Bellotti has practiced law in Boston, Massachusetts with the firm of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo. He is the father of twelve children, including Norfolk County Sheriff Michael G. Bellotti.

In 2012, the district courthouse in Quincy, Massachusetts, was named in his honor.He is the Vice Chairman of Arbella Insurance Group.

Francis E. Kelly

Francis E. Kelly (March 26, 1903 – January 27, 1982) was an American politician who served as a member of the Boston City Council from 1930–1933, the 53rd Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts from 1937 to 1939 and Massachusetts Attorney General from 1949-1953.

Fred Tarbell Field

Fred Tarbell Field (December 24, 1876 – July 23, 1950) was an Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court from January 30, 1929 until he became Chief Justice on June 30, 1938, serving in that capacity until his resignation on July 24, 1947. He was appointed by Governor Charles F. Hurley.Born and raised in Springfield, Vermont, Field read law to gain admission to the Massachusetts State Bar. He was the nephew of Walbridge Abner Field, who was also an Associate Justice and Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Following his admission to the Bar, Field worked in the office of Massachusetts Attorney General Herbert Parker as a law clerk from 1903 to 1904, and as an assistant attorney general from 1905 to 1912, working in the subsequent administrations of Attorneys General Dana Malone and James M. Swift. He then entered private practice in association with Parker in Boston. From 1918 to 1919, Field was a member of the legal staff in the Bureau of Internal Revenue, during which time he helped organize the Advisory Tax Board of the Treasury Department. In 1919, Field returned to Boston, becoming a partner in the firm of Goodwin, Procter, Field and Hoar, where he remained until his appointment to the state supreme court.

Henry A. Wyman

Henry Augustus Wyman was an American attorney who served as Acting Attorney General of Massachusetts following the resignation of Henry Converse Atwill and Acting Treasurer and Receiver-General of Massachusetts (along with Albert P. Langtry and John R. Macomber) following the resignation of Fred J. Burrell.

James Shannon

James Michael Shannon (born April 4, 1952), is a Democratic politician from Massachusetts. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1979 to 1985, and later as the Massachusetts Attorney General.

John E. Hurley

John E. Hurley (November 3, 1906 – September 22, 1992) was an American politician who served as a Massachusetts State Representative, and the Treasurer and Receiver-General of Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Conditions for Farm Animals Initiative

The Massachusetts Conditions for Farm Animals Initiative was Question 3 on the November 8, 2016 statewide ballot. The measure will phase out what advocates say are "extreme" methods of farm animal confinement.Eleven other states already had rules regulating confinement conditions for certain farm animals and regulating the sale of products from such animals kept in "extreme confinement".The measure was approved by voters by a vote of 78% yes to 22% no; it will take full effect on January 1, 2022.

Maura Healey

Maura T. Healey (born February 8, 1971) is an American attorney, a member of the Democratic Party, and the Massachusetts Attorney General.

Born in New Hampshire, Healey graduated from Harvard College in 1992. She then spent two years playing professional basketball in Austria before returning to the United States and receiving a Juris Doctor degree from the Northeastern University School of Law in 1998. After clerking for federal judge A. David Mazzone, she worked in private practice for seven years and served as a special assistant district attorney in Middlesex County.

Hired by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley in 2007, Healey served as Chief of the Civil Rights Division, where she spearheaded the state's challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act. She was then appointed Chief of the Public Protection & Advocacy Bureau and then Chief of the Business and Labor Bureau before resigning in 2013 to run for attorney general in 2014. She defeated former State Senator Warren Tolman in the Democratic primary and then defeated Republican attorney John Miller in the general election. Healey was reelected in 2018. Upon taking office, she became the first openly gay state attorney general in the United States.

Robert T. Bushnell

Robert Tyng Bushnell (born January 9, 1896 in New York City, died October 23, 1949 in Manhattan ) was an American politician who served as Massachusetts Attorney General from 1941-1945.

Thomas J. Boynton (politician)

Thomas Jefferson Boynton (December 30, 1856 – April 14, 1945) was a U.S. political figure who served in 1882 as a member of the Vermont legislature, the city solicitor and the Mayor of Everett, Massachusetts and as the Massachusetts Attorney General.Boynton was born in Westfield, Vermont.

Thomas Reilly

Thomas F. Reilly (born February 14, 1942) is an American attorney and politician who served as the 45th Massachusetts Attorney General. He was born in Springfield, Massachusetts to Irish immigrant parents.

He was one of three candidates who sought the Democratic nomination for governor of Massachusetts in the 2006 election. Former U.S. Assistant Attorney General Deval Patrick won the party's nomination and the general election, defeating Reilly and businessman Chris Gabrieli.

Warren Tolman

Warren E. Tolman (born October 23, 1959 in Boston, Massachusetts) is an American politician who has served as a member of both houses of the Massachusetts General Court was the Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts in 1998, and was a candidate for Governor of Massachusetts in 2002, and Massachusetts Attorney General in 2014.

Statewide government officials of Massachusetts
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