Attorney General of New York

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Attorney General of New York
Seal of the Attorney General of New York.jpg
Seal of the Attorney General
Letitia James 2013 (cropped).jpg
Incumbent
Letitia James

since January 1, 2019
Department of Law
StyleThe Honorable
Term lengthFour years
No limit
Constituting instrumentNew York Constitution, Executive Law
Formation1777
First holderEgbert Benson
SuccessionElection by joint session of New York State Legislature
Websiteag.ny.gov

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.[1] The office has been in existence in some form since 1626, under the Dutch colonial government of New York.

Democrat Letitia James currently serves as Attorney General, in office since January 1, 2019.[2]

Functions[edit]

The Attorney General advises the executive branch of state government and defends actions and proceedings on behalf of the state. The Attorney General acts independently of the Governor of New York. The department's regulations are compiled in title 13 of the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations (NYCRR).

Organization[edit]

The legal functions of the Department of Law are divided primarily into five major divisions: Appeals and Opinions, State Counsel, Criminal Justice, Economic Justice and Social Justice.

Chief Deputy Attorney General[edit]

  • Harlan Levy[3] (2011–2015)

Solicitor General[edit]

Terms of office[edit]

  • From 1684 to 1777, when New York was under the British colonial government, the Attorney General was appointed by the British crown, or the colonial governor on its behalf. In 1693, the Attorney General earned a salary of 50 pounds.
  • From 1777 to 1822, the Attorney General was appointed by the Council of Appointment.
  • From 1823 to 1846, the Attorney General was elected by the New York State Legislature for a three-year term..
  • Attorneys General have been elected by the voters since 1847.

List of Attorneys General of New York[edit]

Attorneys General of New York State, 1777–present[edit]

Attorney General Tenure Party Notes
Egbert Benson May 8, 1777 – May 14, 1788
Richard Varick May 14, 1788 – September 29, 1789 Federalist
Aaron Burr September 29, 1789 – November 8, 1791 Dem.-Rep. Third Vice President of the United States
Morgan Lewis November 8, 1791 – December 24, 1792 Dem.-Rep.
Nathaniel Lawrence December 24, 1792 – November 13, 1795 Dem.-Rep.
Josiah Ogden Hoffman November 13, 1795 – February 3, 1802 Federalist
Ambrose Spencer February 3, 1802 – February 3, 1804 Dem.-Rep.
John Woodworth February 3, 1804 – March 18, 1808 Dem.-Rep.
Matthias B. Hildreth March 18, 1808 – February 2, 1810 Dem.-Rep.
Abraham Van Vechten February 2, 1810 – February 1, 1811 Federalist
Matthias B. Hildreth February 1, 1811 – July 11, 1812 Dem.-Rep. Died in office
Thomas Addis Emmet August 12, 1812 – February 13, 1813 Dem.-Rep.
Abraham Van Vechten February 13, 1813 – February 17, 1815 Federalist
Martin Van Buren February 17, 1815 – July 8, 1819 Dem.-Rep. Eighth President of the United States
Thomas Jackson Oakley July 8, 1819 – February 12, 1821 Federalist
Samuel A. Talcott February 12, 1821 – January 27, 1829 Dem.-Rep. First appointed, in 1823 elected by State Legislature, resigned shortly before the end of his second term
Greene C. Bronson January 27, 1829 – January 12, 1836 Democrat Elected a justice of the State Supreme Court during his third term
Samuel Beardsley January 12, 1836 – February 4, 1839 Democrat
Willis Hall February 4, 1839 – February 7, 1842 Whig
George P. Barker February 7, 1842 – February 3, 1845 Democrat
John Van Buren February 3, 1845 – January 1, 1848 Democrat Legislated out of office by the Constitution of 1846
Ambrose L. Jordan January 1, 1848 – December 31, 1849 Whig First Attorney General elected by general ballot
Levi S. Chatfield January 1, 1850 – November 23, 1853 Democrat Resigned shortly before the end of his second term
Gardner Stow December 8, 1853 – December 31, 1853 Democrat Appointed to fill the unexpired term
Ogden Hoffman January 1, 1854 – December 31, 1855 Whig
Stephen B. Cushing January 1, 1856 – December 31, 1857 American
Lyman Tremain January 1, 1858 – December 31, 1859 Democrat
Charles G. Myers January 1, 1860 – December 31, 1861 Republican
Daniel S. Dickinson January 1, 1862 – December 31, 1863 Union
John Cochrane January 1, 1864 – December 31, 1865 Union
John H. Martindale January 1, 1866 – December 31, 1867 Republican
Marshall B. Champlain January 1, 1868 – December 31, 1871 Democrat Two terms
Francis C. Barlow January 1, 1872 – December 31, 1873 Republican
Daniel Pratt January 1, 1874 – December 31, 1875 Democrat
Charles S. Fairchild January 1, 1876 – December 31, 1877 Democrat
Augustus Schoonmaker, Jr. January 1, 1878 – December 31, 1879 Democrat
Hamilton Ward, Sr. January 1, 1880 – December 31, 1881 Republican
Leslie W. Russell January 1, 1882 – December 31, 1883 Republican
Denis O'Brien January 1, 1884 – December 31, 1887 Democrat Two terms
Charles F. Tabor January 1, 1888 – December 31, 1891 Democrat Two terms
Simon W. Rosendale January 1, 1892 – December 31, 1893 Democrat
Theodore E. Hancock January 1, 1894 – December 31, 1898 Republican Two terms (1894–1895; 1896–1898)
John C. Davies January 1, 1899 – December 31, 1902 Republican Two terms
John Cunneen January 1, 1903 – December 31, 1904 Democrat
Julius M. Mayer January 1, 1905 – December 31, 1906 Republican
William S. Jackson January 1, 1907 – December 31, 1908 Democrat
Edward R. O'Malley January 1, 1909 – December 31, 1910 Republican
Thomas Carmody January 1, 1911 – September 2, 1914 Democrat Resigned shortly before the end of his second term
James A. Parsons September 2, 1914 – December 31, 1914 Democrat Appointed to fill the unexpired term
Egburt E. Woodbury January 1, 1915 – April 19, 1917 Republican Resigned during his second term
Merton E. Lewis April 19, 1917 – December 31, 1918 Republican As First Deputy AG acted until being elected by the State Legislature on April 25 to fill unexpired first half of term, then re-elected in special election (Nov. 1917) for the other half (1918)
Charles D. Newton January 1, 1919 – December 31, 1922 Republican Two terms
Carl Sherman January 1, 1923 – December 31, 1924 Democrat Defeated for reelection in 1924
Albert Ottinger January 1, 1925 – December 31, 1928 Republican Two terms; unsuccessful Republican nominee for governor in 1928
Hamilton Ward, Jr. January 1, 1929 – December 31, 1930 Republican Son of Hamilton Ward, Sr. (AG from 1880 to 1881)
John J. Bennett, Jr. January 1, 1931 – December 31, 1942 Democrat Five terms
Nathaniel L. Goldstein January 1, 1943 – December 31, 1954 Republican Three terms
Jacob K. Javits January 1, 1955 – January 9, 1957 Republican Resigned having been elected U.S. Senator
Louis J. Lefkowitz January 9, 1957 – December 31, 1978 Republican Re-elected by the State Legislature to fill the unexpired term, then re-elected to five more terms, longest-serving Attorney General (8 days short of 22 years)
Robert Abrams January 1, 1979 – December 31, 1993 Democrat Resigned a year before the end of his fourth term
G. Oliver Koppell January 1, 1994 – December 31, 1994 Democrat Elected by the State Legislature to fill unexpired term
Dennis Vacco January 1, 1995 – December 31, 1998 Republican Defeated for reelection in 1998. Joined Waste Management, Inc. as vice president for New York government affairs. Became a partner in Buffalo law firm, Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman.
Eliot Spitzer January 1, 1999 – December 31, 2006 Democrat Two terms, then elected Governor
Andrew Cuomo January 1, 2007 – December 31, 2010 Democrat One term, then elected Governor
Eric Schneiderman January 1, 2011 – May 8, 2018 Democrat Resigned during his second term
Barbara D. Underwood May 8, 2018 – December 31, 2018 Democrat Served as Acting Attorney General from May 8 to May 22, when she was confirmed by the New York State Legislature.
Letitia "Tish" James January 1, 2019 – present Democrat

Attorneys General of the Province of New York[edit]

Attorney General Tenure Notes
Took office Left office
Thomas Rudyard 1684 December 1685 Appointed by Gov. Thomas Dongan
James Graham 10 December 1685 1688 afterwards Attorney General of Dominion of New England, 1688.[7][8]
Member of Dominion of New England, May 1668 – April 1689
Jacob Milborne 1690 1691 Hanged for treason, 1691
Thomas Newton 1691 April 1691 Removed from office by Governor
George Farewell 1691 1692 (Acting) Removed from office by Governor
James Graham June 1692 21 January 1701 Died 27 January 1701
Sampson Shelton Broughton 5 April 1701 Died February 1705
John Rayner 12 July 1708 Absent in England. Died 1719.[9]
May Bickley 1708 1712 Acting AG in Rayner's absence. Removed from office by Governor, 1712
David Jamison 10 June 1712 1721 Acting AG in Rayner's absence, 1712–20
James Alexander 1721 1723
Richard Bradley 1723 28 August 1752
William Smith the elder August 1752
William Kempe November 1752 19 July 1759
John Tabor Kempe 1759 c. 1783 [9]
James Duane 1767 Acting AG in Kempe's absence.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Executive Law § 60. "There shall continue to be in the state government a department of law. The head of the department of law shall be the attorney-general."
  2. ^ Westerman, Ashley (January 1, 2019). "N.Y. Swears In New Attorney General After A Tumultuous Year For The Office". NPR. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  3. ^ Schneiderman Fills Six Top Posts, NY Law Journal.com, 23 December 2010, Stashenko, J., Retrieved 1 November 2013.
  4. ^ New York State Unified Court System: Judges of the Trial Courts: Hon. O. Peter Sherwood, NYCourts.gov, Retrieved 1 November 2013.
  5. ^ Jerry Boone Named Harrah's Entertainment Senior Vice President of Human Resources, TheFreeLibrary.com, Retrieved 1 November 2013.
  6. ^ New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Barbara G. Billet Archived 2013-11-03 at the Wayback Machine, FreedomSpeaks.com, Retrieved 1 November 2013.
  7. ^ Brodhead, Esq., John Romeyn (1853). Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York; Procured in Holland, England and France. Albany: Weed, Parsons & Co. p. 351. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  8. ^ Denton, Daniel (2009). A Brief Description of New York. Applewood Books. p. 69. ISBN 9781429022217. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  9. ^ a b Eisenstadt, Peter (2005). Encyclopedia of New York State. Syracuse University Press. p. 134. ISBN 9780815608080. Retrieved 30 October 2019.

External links[edit]