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.
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
, secretary of state
, superintendent of public instruction
, and insurance commissioner
On March 24, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom
announced that he would be appointing Rob Bonta
as attorney general to succeed Xavier Becerra
, who resigned the position to become Secretary of Health and Human Services
under President Joe Biden
. Bonta's appointment is subject to confirmation by both houses of the California State Legislature
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.
[California Constitution, Article V, Section 13]
*Heads the Department of Justice, which is responsible for providing state legal services and support for local law enforcement.
*Acts as the chief counsel in state litigation.
*Oversees law enforcement agencies, including district attorneys and sheriffs.
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, 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. Warren went on to become attorney general himself in 1938, reorganizing's the state's law enforcement into districts.
*Stanley Mosk was the first adherent of Judaism to hold the office.
*George Deukmejian was the first Armenian American to hold the office.
*Kamala Harris was the first woman, the first Asian American, and the first African American to hold the office.
*Xavier Becerra was the first Latino to hold the office.
List of attorneys general of California
;Major other offices held
*Xavier Becerra (2017–2021) – 25th Secretary of Health and Human Services (2021–present)
*Jerry Brown (2007–2011) – 34th and 39th Governor of California (1975–1983; 2011–2019)
*Pat Brown (1951–1959) – 32nd Governor of California (1959–1967)
*George Deukmejian (1979–1983) – 35th Governor of California (1983–1991)
*William F. Fitzgerald (1895–1899) – Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court (1893–1895); Associate Justice of the Arizona Territorial Supreme Court (1884–1885)
*Kamala Harris (2011–2017) – 49th Vice President of the United States (2021–present); U.S. Senator from California (2017–2021)
*S. Clinton Hastings (1852–1854) – 1st Chief Justice of California (1849–1851); 3rd Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court (1848–1849)
*Bill Lockyer (1999–2007) – 32nd California State Treasurer (2007–2015); 46th President pro tempore of the California State Senate (1994–1998)
*John G. McCullough (1863–1867) – 49th Governor of Vermont (1902–1904)
*James A. McDougall (1850–1851) – U.S. Senator from California (1861–1867); 14th Illinois Attorney General (1843–1846)
*Stanley Mosk (1959–1964) – Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court (1964–2001)
*William T. Wallace (1856–1858) – 12th Chief Justice of California (1872–1879); Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court (1871–1872)
*Earl Warren (1939–1943) – 14th Chief Justice of the United States (1953–1969); 30th Governor of California (1943–1953)
*Ulysses S. Webb (1902–1939) – longest serving at 37 years
California Attorney General
articles at ''Legal Newsline Legal Journal''
California Attorney General
articles at ''ABA Journal''