Attorney General of California

The attorney general of California is the state attorney general of the Government of California. The officer's duty is to ensure that "the laws of the state are uniformly and adequately enforced" (Constitution of California, Article V, Section 13). The California attorney general carries out the responsibilities of the office through the California Department of Justice. The department employs over 1,100 attorneys and 3,700 non-attorney employees.[citation needed]

Attorney General of California
Seal of the attorney general of California
Flag of the State of California
Incumbent
Rob Bonta
since April 23, 2021
Department of Justice
StyleThe Honorable
Term lengthFour years, two term limit
Inaugural holderEdward J. C. Kewen
1849
FormationCalifornia Constitution
Salary$151,127
Websiteoag.ca.gov

The California attorney general is elected to a four-year term, with a maximum of two terms. The election is held at the same statewide election as the governor, lieutenant governor, controller, secretary of state, treasurer, superintendent of public instruction, and insurance commissioner. A few individual attorneys general have gone on to higher offices on the state and federal level, including the offices of governor, United States Senator, chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, and vice president of the United States.

On March 24, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that he would be appointing Rob Bonta as attorney general to succeed Xavier Becerra, who resigned from the position to become Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Joe Biden. Bonta's appointment was subject to confirmation by both houses of the California State Legislature, and he was sworn in on April 23, 2021.[1][2][3]

Duties edit

 
The California attorney general's main office in Sacramento is housed in this building

According to the state Constitution, the Code of Civil Procedure, and the Government Code, the attorney general:

  • As the state's chief law officer, ensures that the laws of the state are uniformly and adequately enforced.[4]
  • Heads the Department of Justice, which is responsible for providing state legal services and support for local law enforcement.[5]
  • Acts as the chief counsel in state litigation.[6]
  • Oversees law enforcement agencies, including district attorneys and sheriffs.[4]

History edit

Although the office of attorney general dates to the admission of California to the Union, the office in its modern form dates to Proposition 4 of 1934,[7] sponsored by Alameda County District Attorney Earl Warren as one of four initiatives he sponsored to substantially reform law enforcement and the judiciary. Previously, the attorney general lacked jurisdiction over matters in the jurisdiction of locally elected district attorneys and sheriffs.[8] Warren went on to become attorney general himself in 1938, reorganizing's the state's law enforcement into districts.

Under Robert W. Kenny, the office was complicit in the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, a position it has since apologized for.[9]

Diversity edit

List of attorneys general of California edit

No. Portrait Name Party Term
1   Edward J. C. Kewen Democratic 1849

1850
2   James A. McDougall Democratic 1850

1851
3   Serranus C. Hastings Democratic January 5, 1852

January 2, 1854
4   John R. McConnell Democratic 1854

1856
5   William M. Stewart Democratic June 7, 1853

December 1853
(acting)
6   William T. Wallace American January 1856

January 1858
7   Thomas H. Williams Democratic 1858

1862
8   Frank M. Pixley Republican 1862

1863
9   John G. McCullough Republican 1863

1867
10   Jo Hamilton Democratic December 5, 1867

December 8, 1871
11   John L. Love Republican 1871

1875
12   Jo Hamilton Democratic December 9, 1875

January 8, 1880
13   Augustus L. Hart Republican January 8, 1880

January 10, 1883
14   Edward C. Marshall Democratic January 10, 1883

January 8, 1887
15   George A. Johnson Democratic January 8, 1887

January 8, 1891
16   William H. H. Hart Republican January 8, 1891

January 11, 1895
17   William F. Fitzgerald Republican January 7, 1895

January 2, 1899
18   Tirey L. Ford Republican January 4, 1899

September 14, 1902
19   Ulysses S. Webb Republican September 15, 1902

January 3, 1939
20   Earl Warren Republican January 3, 1939

January 4, 1943
21   Robert W. Kenny Democratic January 4, 1943

January 5, 1947
22   Frederick N. Howser Republican January 5, 1947

January 8, 1951
23   Pat Brown Democratic January 8, 1951

January 5, 1959
24   Stanley Mosk Democratic January 5, 1959

August 31, 1964
25   Thomas C. Lynch Democratic August 31, 1964

January 4, 1971
26   Evelle J. Younger Republican January 4, 1971

January 8, 1979
27   George Deukmejian Republican January 8, 1979

January 3, 1983
28   John Van de Kamp Democratic January 3, 1983

January 7, 1991
29   Dan Lungren Republican January 7, 1991

January 4, 1999
30   Bill Lockyer Democratic January 4, 1999

January 8, 2007
31   Jerry Brown Democratic January 8, 2007

January 3, 2011
32   Kamala Harris Democratic January 3, 2011

January 3, 2017
33   Xavier Becerra Democratic January 24, 2017

March 18, 2021
34   Rob Bonta Democratic April 23, 2021

Incumbent

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Rob Bonta, Bay Area Democratic lawmaker, appointed California attorney general". Los Angeles Times. March 24, 2021. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  2. ^ Hubler, Shawn (March 24, 2021). "Rob Bonta, an Asian-American Progressive, Is Named Attorney General in California". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  3. ^ "Attorney General Rob Bonta". State of California - Department of Justice - Office of the Attorney General. December 21, 2010. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  4. ^ a b California Constitution, Article V, Section 13 Archived January 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ California Government Code §15000
  6. ^ California Code of Civil Procedure §401
  7. ^ "History of Initiative and Referendum in California". Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  8. ^ "Proposition 4 (1934)". Propositions. January 1934.
  9. ^ Reports, Rafu (August 15, 2023). "Bonta Issues Apology Acknowledging Complicity of State Attorney General's Office in Incarceration of JAs". Rafu Shimpo. Retrieved August 16, 2023.
  10. ^ Thurber, Jon; Dolan, Maura (June 20, 2001). "Stanley Mosk, State's Senior Justice, Dies". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  11. ^ Dick, Jason (August 12, 2020). "'It's just history': Kamala Harris as the VP nominee". CQ Roll Call. FiscalNote. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  12. ^ "Attorney General Xavier Becerra". Office of the Attorney General. State of California Department of Justice. December 21, 2010. Archived from the original on March 23, 2019. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  13. ^ "Governor Newsom Swears in Rob Bonta as Attorney General of California". Office of Governor Gavin Newsom. April 23, 2021. Retrieved July 14, 2021.

External links edit