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.
|Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts|
|Government of Massachusetts|
|Type||Chief legal officer|
|Seat||One Ashburton Place, Boston, Massachusetts|
|Term length||4 years, no limit|
|Constituting instrument||Constitution of Massachusetts|
|First holder||Paul Dudley|
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 BayEdit
Office established at the start of Queen Anne's War in 1702.
|#||Name||Term of service|
|13||Robert Treat Paine||1777–1780|
List of attorneys general of the Commonwealth of MassachusettsEdit
Office reestablished upon the ratification of the Constitution of Massachusetts in 1780.
|No.||Portrait||Name||Prior experience||Municipality of residence||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|
|25||J. Weston Allen||1920–1923||Republican|
|26||Jay R. Benton||1923–1927||Republican|
|27||Arthur K. Reading||1927–1928||Republican|
|28||Joseph E. Warner||1928–1935||Republican|
|29||Paul A. Dever||Middlesex County Public Administrator, Mass. House 1929-'34, Lawyer||Cambridge||1935–1941||Democratic|
|30||Robert T. Bushnell||Middlesex County District Attorney, Lawyer||West Newton||1941–1945||Republican|
|31||Clarence A. Barnes||Mansfield Town Moderator and Counsel, Mass. House 1912-'13, Constitutional Convention, Governor's Council 1943-'44, Lawyer||Mansfield||1945–1949||Republican|
|32||Francis E. Kelly||Boston City Council, Lieutenant Governor, Fall River Finance Commissioner, Attorney at law||Dorchester, Boston||1949–1953||Democratic|
|33||George Fingold||Asst. Attorney General, Asst. District Attorney, City Council, Lawyer||Concord||1953–1958||Republican|
|34||Edward J. McCormack Jr.||Boston City Council, Lawyer||Dorchester, Boston||1958–1963||Democratic|
|35||Edward W. Brooke||Chairman of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, Massachusetts Advisory Committee, Chairman of the Boston Finance Commission, Lawyer||Newton Centre||1963–1967||Republican|
|36||Edward T. Martin||1967||Republican|
|37||Elliot Richardson||Lieutenant Governor, United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, Assistant Secretary of the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Brookline Town Meeting member, Lawyer||Brookline||1967–1969||Republican|
|38||Robert H. Quinn||Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Lawyer||Dorchester, Boston||1969–1975||Democratic|
|39||Francis X. Bellotti||Lieutenant Governor, Attorney||Quincy||1975–1987||Democratic|
|40||James Shannon||Representative in Congress, Lawyer||Lawrence||1987–1991||Democratic|
|41||L. Scott Harshbarger||Middlesex County District Attorney; General Counsel, State Ethics Commission; Chief, Public Protection Bureau, Department of Attorney General; Deputy Chief Counsel, Massachusetts Defenders Committee||Westwood||1991–1999||Democratic|
|42||Thomas Reilly||Middlesex County District Attorney||Watertown||1999–2007||Democratic|
|43||Martha Coakley||Middlesex County District Attorney||Medford||2007–2015||Democratic|
|44||Maura Healey||Massachusetts Attorney General's Office as the Chief of the Civil Rights Division, Chief of the Public Protection and Advocacy Bureau, Chief of the Business and Labor Bureau, litigator and junior partner at the international law firm WilmerHale, Special Assistant District Attorney for Middlesex County, clerk for Judge David Mazzone in the United States District Court in Massachusetts, former professional basketball player||Boston||2015–present||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 generalEdit
As of July 2022, 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|
- Public Officers of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1945-1946. Boston Review. p. 26.
- Hayden, Irving N.; Grove, Lawrence R. (1945). Public Officers of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1945-1946. Commonwealth of Massachusetts. p. 25.
- Hayden, Irving N.; Grove, Lawrence R. (1957). Public Officers of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1951-1952. Commonwealth of Massachusetts. p. 27.
- Hayden, Irving N.; Grove, Lawrence R. (1957). Public Officers of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1957-1958. Commonwealth of Massachusetts. p. 26.
- Chadwick, Thomas A.; Maiers, William C. (1965). Public Officers of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1965-1966. Commonwealth of Massachusetts. p. 23.
- Pidgeon, Norman L.; Maiers, William C. (1967). Public Officers of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1967-1968. Commonwealth of Massachusetts. p. 23.
- O'Neill, Edward B.; MacQueen, Robert E. (1997). Public Officers of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1997-1998 (PDF). Massachusetts General Court. Commonwealth of Massachusetts. p. 25.
- "Maura Healey, Attorney General". Massachusetts Political Almanac. State House News Service. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
- 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 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