Attorney General of the District of Columbia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Attorney General of the District of Columbia
DC Attorney General Seal.png
Seal of the Office of the Attorney General
Irvin B. Nathan

since 2011
Term length Four years, renewable
Formation 1973
Website Office of the Attorney General

The Attorney General of the District of Columbia is the chief legal officer of the District of Columbia. Currently appointed by the Mayor, D.C. voters approved a charter amendment in 2010 that will make the D.C. attorney general an elected position starting in 2014.

Election delays[edit]

In July 2012,[1] the DC council voted to postpone the election of attorney general to 2018. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson called the vote "an embarrassment." [1]

In September 2013, Paul Zukerberg filed suit against the DC Council and the city elections claiming any delay would violate the District charter — which was amended through the 2010 ballot question to provide for the election of the city’s top lawyer.[1] Attorney General Irv Nathan initially argued that Zukerberg was not suffering any “meaningful hardship” from pushing back the election.[2]

On February 7, 2014, a District of Columbia Superior Court judge ruled that ballots for the April 1 primary could be printed without the Attorney General race.[3] Zukerberg appealed the ruling, declaring himself a candidate and arguing that he would suffer "irreparable harm" if the election were postponed.[3] [4]

On June 4, 2014 the District of Columbia Court of Appeals overturned the lower court's decision. According to the ruling, the Court of Appeals "[determined] that the Superior Court's interpretation was incorrect as a matter of law and reverse." They stated in the ruling that original language in Elected Attorney General Act is ambiguous in stating the election "shall be after January 1, 2014," and that the attorney general referendum ratified by a majority of D.C. voters last year made it seem as though the election would take place in 2014. [4] On June 13, Zukerberg collected nominating petitions. [5]

2014 election[edit]

Zukerberg announced his candidacy for Attorney General in November 2013.[2]

Lorie Masters, a litigator and activist, announced her candidacy for Attorney General on July 10, 2014.[6] Masters has said as Attorney General her “primary focus ... would be on 'ethical issues' within the District government,” and that she wants to “make sure that the rights and perspectives of D.C. voters are respected.”[6] She envisions the role of the Attorney General as "a check on the other power centers in the government.”[6]

Federal lawyer Edward "Smitty" Smith formally launched his campaign for the post on July 12, 2014.[7]

White-collar attorney Karl Racine and legislative policy analyst Lateefah Williams have also announced their candidacies in the local press.[8]

Previous Attorneys General of the District of Columbia[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "D.C. Council delays first election of attorney general". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2014-04-06. 
  2. ^ a b "Attorney Paul Zukerberg Suing DC Council Over Timing of Attorney General Election". Retrieved 2014-02-21. 
  3. ^ a b "D.C. Judge: AG Race Won’t Be on April 1 Ballot". CBS. Retrieved 2014-04-06. 
  4. ^ a b Matt Cohen (February 7, 2014). "There Will Not Be An Attorney General Election This April". DCist. Retrieved August 12, 2014. 
  5. ^ Matt Cohen and Sarah Anne Hughes (June 13, 2014). "Board Of Elections Hands Over Ballot Petitions For An Elected Attorney General". DCist. Retrieved June 14, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c Mike DeBonis (2014-07-16). "Lorie Masters seeks D.C. attorney general post in November election". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2014-10-12. 
  7. ^ Mike DeBonis (2014-07-07). "Edward ‘Smitty’ Smith, former federal lawyer, joins D.C. attorney general race". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2014-07-22. 
  8. ^ Jennifer van der Kleut (2014-07-16). "D.C. attorney general race: One candidate drops out, four new ones jump in". ABC7 WJLA. Retrieved 2014-07-22.