Table 4.23

Attorneys General: Duties to Administrative Agencies and Other Responsibilities


  Duties to administrative agencies
  Conducts litigation:  
FIPS State or other
jurisdiction
Serves as
counsel for
state
Appears for
state in
criminal appeals
Issues official
advice
Interprets
statutes or
regulations
On behalf of
agency
Against
agency
Prepares or
reviews legal
documents
Represents the
public before
the agency
Involved in
rule-making
Review rules
for legality
01Alabama*A,B,C (a)✓ (a)(b)(b)
02AlaskaA,B,C
04ArizonaA,B,C✓ (n)
05ArkansasA,B,C
06California*A,B,C
08Colorado*A,B,C
09ConnecticutA,B,C(b)
10DelawareA,B,C✓(d)
12Florida*A,B,C
13Georgia*A,B,C
15HawaiiA,B,C
16IdahoA,B,C
17Illinois*A,B,C
18IndianaA,B,C
19Iowa*A,B,C
20Kansas*A,B,C
21KentuckyA,B,C
22Louisiana*A,B,C✓ (m)
23Maine*A,B,C
24MarylandA,B,C(b)
25MassachusettsA,B,C(b)(c)(d)
26MichiganA,B,C
27MinnesotaA,B,C(c)(d)(a)
28Mississippi*A,B,C
29Missouri*A,B,C
30Montana (f)*A,B,C
31Nebraska*A,B,C
32Nevada*A,B,C
33New Hampshire*A,B,C(l)
34New Jersey*A,B,C
35New Mexico*A,B,C
36New York*A,B,C(b)(b)(b)
37North CarolinaA,B,C(b)
38North DakotaA,B,C
39OhioA,B,C
40Oklahoma*A,B,C
41OregonA,B
42PennsylvaniaA,B
44Rhode Island*A,B,C
45South Carolina*A,B,C✓ (d)(a)(b)
46South Dakota*A,B,C
47Tennessee*A,B,C(e)(e)
48Texas (g)A,B✓ (k)
49UtahA,B,C✓ (a)(b)
50VermontA,B,C
51VirginiaA,B,C
53Washington*A,B,C✓ (i)
54West Virginia*A,B,C(j)(j)
55WisconsinA,B,C(b)(b)(b)(b)(b)
56Wyoming*A,B,C
11Dist. of Columbia*A,B✓ (h)
60American Samoa*A,B,C✓ (a)
66Guam*A,B,C(d)(b)
69CNMI**A,B,C
72Puerto Rico*A,B,C
78U.S. Virgin Islands*A,B

Source:

The Council of State Governments' survey of attorneys general offices, 2022.

Key:

* Information from The Council of State Governments’ survey of attorneys general offices and review of state websites, 2021.
** Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands
A — Defend state law when challenged on federal constitutional grounds.
B — Conduct litigation on behalf of state in federal and other states’ courts.
C — Prosecute actions against another state in U.S. Supreme Court.
✓ — Has authority in area.
✕ — Does not have authority in area.

Footnotes:

(a) Attorney general has exclusive jurisdiction.
(b) In certain cases only to prepare or review legal documents and represent the public before the agency.
(c) When assisting local prosecutor in the appeal.
(d) Can appear on own discretion.
(e) Consumer Advocate Division represents the public in utility rate making hearings and rule making proceedings.
(f)  Most state agencies are represented by agency counsel who do not answer to the attorney general. The attorney general does provide representation for agencies in conflict situations and where the agency requires additional or specialized assistance.
(g) Other administrative duties include representing one state agency before another state agency.
(h) However, OUSA handles felony cases and most major misdemeanors.
(i) Limited to certain collateral challenges to state criminal convictions.
(j) On request of agency. Office acts as legal counsel to any state agency on request and that can include reviewing legislation and drafting rules and regulations.
(k) Regarding criminal appeals, the Office of Attorney General handles federal habeas corpus appeals only.
(l) The Attorney General serves as counsel for the public before 1 administrative body, but otherwise does not represent the public before agencies.
(m) May appear for the state in criminal appeals either as the actual prosecutor in the case or through the solicitor general if the state has a broader interest.
(n) Although rare, the attorney general has the authority under certain circumstances to initiate litigation against a state agency.