Attorney General for the District of Columbia
|Attorney General of the District of Columbia|
Seal of the Office of the Attorney General
|Term length||Four years, renewable|
|Website||Office of the Attorney General|
|This article is part of a series on the|
politics and government of
District of Columbia
The District of Columbia is a unique federal district of the U.S.
The Attorney General for the District of Columbia is the chief legal officer of the District of Columbia. Previously appointed by the Mayor, District of Columbia voters approved a charter amendment in 2010 which made the office an elected position beginning in 2015.
In the November 2, 2010 general election, voters approved Charter Amendment IV that made the office of Attorney General an elected position.
|Registered voters and turnout||453,014||26.30|
In July 2012, the District of Columbia council voted to postpone the election of attorney general to 2018, citing a dispute over how much power the elected attorney general would have. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson called the vote "an embarrassment." 
In September 2013, Paul Zukerberg filed suit against the District of Columbia 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. Attorney General Irv Nathan initially argued that Zukerberg was not suffering any “meaningful hardship” from pushing back the election.
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. Zukerberg appealed the ruling, declaring himself a candidate and arguing that he would suffer "irreparable harm" if the election were postponed.
On June 4, 2014, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals overturned the lower court's decision. The Court held "that the Superior Court's interpretation was incorrect as a matter of law" and reversed. The Court ruled that the original language in the 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 District of Columbia voters in 2010 made it seem as though the election would take place in 2014. On June 13, Zukerberg collected nominating petitions.
Joining Zukerberg as candidates for the position were insurance litigator and activist Lorie Masters, federal lawyer Edward "Smitty" Smith, white-collar attorney Karl Racine, and legislative policy analyst Lateefah Williams. Racine secured a plurality victory, winning 36% of the votes cast, and was sworn in as the first elected Attorney General in January 2015.
Previous Attorneys General for the District of Columbia
Before 1899, the position was "Attorney for the District of Columbia". By 1905, it had become "Corporation Counsel". In 2004, the office's name was changed from "Corporation Counsel" to "Attorney General" by Mayor's Order 2004-92, May 26, making Spagnoletti the only person ever to hold both titles.
After Home Rule
Before Home Rule
|Name||Took Office||Left Office||President(s) of the Board|
|C. Francis Murphy||1970||1976||Mayor-Commissioner Walter Washington|
|Charles T. Duncan||1966||1970||Walter Nathan Tobriner|
|Chester H. Gray||1956||1965||Robert E. McLaughlin, Walter Nathan Tobriner|
|E. Barrett Prettyman||1934||1936||Melvin Colvin Hazen|
|William W. Bride||1927||1934||Proctor L. Dougherty; Luther Halsey Reichelderfer; Melvin Colvin Hazen|
|Conrad H. Syme||1913||1920||Oliver Peck Newman; Louis Brownlow|
|Edward H. Thomas||1905||1913||Henry Brown Floyd MacFarland; Cuno Hugo Rudolph|
|Andrew B. Duvall||1899||September 12, 1905||John Brewer Wright; Henry Brown Floyd MacFarland|
|Sidney J. Thomas||1893||1899||John Wesley Ross; John Brewer Wright|
|George C. Hazelton||1889||1893||John Watkinson Douglass|
- "General Election 2010". District of Columbia Board of Elections. Archived from the original on November 23, 2015. Retrieved November 29, 2015.
- "The Elected Attorney General Charter Amendment" (PDF). District of Columbia Board of Elections. August 13, 2010.
- "District of Columbia Council delays first election of attorney general". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
- "Attorney Paul Zukerberg Suing District of Columbia Council Over Timing of Attorney General Election". Washingtonian.com. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
- "District of Columbia Judge: AG Race Won't Be on April 1 Ballot". CBS. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
- "Paul Zukerberg Appeals Attorney General Election Decision". dcist.com. Archived from the original on February 16, 2015. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
- Matt Cohen (February 7, 2014). "There Will Not Be An Attorney General Election This April". DCist. Archived from the original on March 10, 2014. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
- Matt Cohen (June 4, 2014). "Court Rules City Must Hold Attorney General Election This Year (UPDATE)". DCist. Archived from the original on October 16, 2014. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
- Matt Cohen and Sarah Anne Hughes (June 13, 2014). "Board Of Elections Hands Over Ballot Petitions For An Elected Attorney General". DCist. Archived from the original on November 6, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
- Mike DeBonis (July 16, 2014). "Lorie Masters seeks D.C. attorney general post in November election". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
- Mike DeBonis (July 7, 2014). "Edward 'Smitty' Smith, former federal lawyer, joins D.C. attorney general race". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 22, 2014.
- Jennifer van der Kleut (July 16, 2014). "D.C. attorney general race: One candidate drops out, four new ones jump in". ABC7 WJLA. Retrieved July 22, 2014.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 20, 2015. Retrieved December 4, 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine takes sides in Obama immigration fight". Washington Post. Retrieved January 21, 2015.
- "Karl Racine wins first-ever race for D.C. attorney general". Washington Post. November 4, 2014. Retrieved November 4, 2014.
- "District of Columbia Former Attorneys General". National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG). Retrieved April 30, 2018.
- "Former D.C Attorney General Peter Nickles returns to law firm". Washington Business Journal. American City Business Journals. January 6, 2011. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
- David Nakamura (October 18, 2008). "D.C. Drafts Suit Against Bank for Tax-Scam Cash". The Washington Post: 2. Retrieved April 26, 2016. (Nickles began his tenure as Acting Attorney General.)
- Press Release from Teal's time as Corporation Counsel
- "Biography at District of Columbia Court of Appeals" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on February 6, 2012. Retrieved February 8, 2016.
- District of Columbia Bar interview
- Biography at Rubin, Winston, Diercks, Harris & Cooke, L.L.P.
- "Official Biography at District of Columbia Circuit". Archived from the original on December 22, 2015. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
- Milton Coleman (April 12, 1979). "Barry Appoints Corporation Counsel". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
- Richard Pearson (February 22, 1999). "JOHN RISHER, FORMER D.C. CORPORATION COUNSEL, DIES". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
- "C. Francis Murphy Dies". The Washington Post. July 30, 1993. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
- Adam Bernstein (May 7, 2004). "D.C. Lawyer, Educator Charles Duncan Dies". Retrieved July 13, 2017.
- "Legends in the Law: Charles T. Duncan". Bar Report. June – July 1996. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
- J. R. Cole (1917). "History of Greenbrier County": 166–171. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
- District of Columbia. Board of Commissioners (1905). "Annual Report of the Commissioners of the District of Columbia". 4: 34. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
- Richard A. Ford, ed. (1905). "The Daily Washington Law Reporter". 33: 577. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
- "Eminent and Representative Men of Virginia and the District of Columbia in the Nineteenth Century: With a Concise Historical Sketch of Virginia". Brant & Fuller. 1893: 103. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
- District of Columbia Attorney General official website
- District of Columbia Attorney General articles at Legal Newsline Legal Journal
- District of Columbia Attorney General articles at ABA Journal
- News and Commentary at FindLaw
- District of Columbia Code at Law.Justia.com
- U.S. Supreme Court Opinions - "Cases with title containing: District of Columbia" at FindLaw
- District of Columbia Bar
- District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine profile at National Association of Attorneys General
- Press releases at District of Columbia Attorney General