Massachusetts Attorney General
|Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts|
|Term length||Four years|
|Inaugural holder||Paul Dudley|
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.
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.
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 of the Province of Massachusetts Bay
Office established at the start of Queen Anne's War in 1702.
|#||Name||Term of Service|
List of Attorneys General of the State of Massachusetts Bay
Office reestablished at the start of the American Revolutionary War in 1776.
|#||Name||Term of Service|
|2||Robert Treat Paine||1778–1780|
List of Attorneys General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Office reestablished upon the ratification of the Constitution of Massachusetts in 1780.
|#||Name||Term of Service||Political Party|
|1||Robert Treat Paine||1780–1790||Independent|
|5||James T. Austin||1832–1843||National Republican|
|6||John H. Clifford||1849–1853||Whig|
|8||John H. Clifford||1854–1858||Whig|
|9||Stephen Henry Phillips||1858–1861||Republican|
|11||Chester I. Reed||1864–1867||Republican|
|13||Charles R. Train||1872–1879||Republican|
|15||Edgar J. Sherman||1883–1887||Republican|
|16||Andrew J. Waterman||1887–1891||Republican|
|17||Albert E. Pillsbury||1891–1894||Republican|
|18||Hosea M. Knowlton||1894–1902||Republican|
|21||James M. Swift||1911–1914||Republican|
|22||Thomas J. Boynton||1914–1915||Democratic|
|23||Henry Converse Atwill||1915–1919||Republican|
|24||Henry A. Wyman||1919–1920||Republican|
|26||J. Weston Allen||1920–1923||Republican|
|27||Jay R. Benton||1923–1927||Republican|
|28||Arthur K. Reading||1927–1928||Republican|
|29||Joseph E. Warner||1928–1935||Republican|
|30||Paul A. Dever||1935–1941||Democratic|
|31||Robert T. Bushnell||1941–1945||Republican|
|32||Clarence A. Barnes||1945–1949||Republican|
|33||Francis E. Kelly||1949–1953||Democratic|
|35||Edward J. McCormack Jr.||1958–1963||Democratic|
|37||Edward T. Martin||1967||Republican|
|39||Robert H. Quinn||1969–1975||Democratic|
|40||Francis X. Bellotti||1975–1987||Democratic|
- Sullivan was appointed as a member of the Anti–Administration Party, but switched to the Democratic–Republican Party between 1792 and 1794.
Living former Massachusetts attorneys general
As of September 2020, there are five living former Massachusetts attorneys general, the oldest being Francis X. Bellotti (served 1975–1987, born 1923). The most recent attorney general to die was Edward Brooke on January 3, 2015 (served 1963–1967, born 1919).
|Name||Term of office||Date of birth (and age)|
|Francis X. Bellotti||1975–1987||May 3, 1923|
|James Shannon||1987–1991||April 4, 1952|
|Scott Harshbarger||1991–1999||December 1, 1941|
|Thomas Reilly||1999–2007||February 14, 1942|
|Martha Coakley||2007–2015||July 14, 1953|
- Massachusetts Attorney General official website
- Office of the Attorney General, hdl:2452/35664 – via State Library of Massachusetts electronic repository. (Various documents).
- Massachusetts Attorney General articles at Legal Newsline Legal Journal
- Massachusetts Attorney General articles at ABA Journal
- News and Commentary at FindLaw
- Massachusetts General Laws at Law.Justia.com
- U.S. Supreme Court Opinions - "Cases with title containing: State of Massachusetts" at FindLaw
- Massachusetts Bar Association
- Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey profile at National Association of Attorneys General
- Press releases at Massachusetts Attorney General