United States Attorney General

United States Attorney General
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Seal of the Department of Justice
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Flag of the Attorney General
Incumbent
William P. Barr

since February 14, 2019
United States Department of Justice
StyleMr. Attorney General
Member ofCabinet
Reports toPresident of the United States
SeatDepartment of Justice Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
AppointerThe President
with Senate advice and consent
Term lengthNo Fixed Term
Constituting instrumentTemplate:Usc
Judiciary Act of 1789
FormationSeptember 26, 1789
First holderEdmund Randolph
SuccessionSeventh[1]
DeputyDeputy Attorney General
SalaryExecutive Schedule, level I[2]
Websitewww.justice.gov

The United States Attorney General is the head of the United States Department of Justice concerned with legal affairs and is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States government.The Attorney General is considered to be the chief lawyer of the U.S. government. The Attorney General serves as a member of the President's Cabinet, but is the only cabinet department head who is not given the title Secretary.

The current Attorney General is William P. Barr since February 14, 2019. He replaced Jeff Sessions.

List of Attorneys General

Parties

  No party (1)   Federalist (3)   Democratic-Republican (5)   Democratic (34)   Whig (4)   Republican (38)

Status

     Denotes service as acting Attorneys General prior to appointment or after resignation

No. Portrait Name State of Residence Took office Left office President(s)
1 75px Edmund Randolph Virginia September 26, 1789 January 26, 1794 rowspan=3 style="background: Template:Party shading/None;" | George Washington
2 75px William Bradford Pennsylvania January 27, 1794 August 23, 1795
3 75px Charles Lee Virginia December 10, 1795 February 19, 1801
John Adams
4 75px Levi Lincoln Sr. Massachusetts March 5, 1801 March 2, 1805 Thomas Jefferson
5 75px John Breckinridge Kentucky August 7, 1805 December 14, 1806
6 75px Caesar Augustus Rodney Delaware January 20, 1807 December 10, 1811
James Madison
7 75px William Pinkney Maryland December 11, 1811 February 9, 1814
8 75px Richard Rush Pennsylvania February 10, 1814 November 12, 1817
9 75px William Wirt Virginia November 13, 1817 March 4, 1829 James Monroe
John Quincy Adams
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |10 75px John Macpherson Berrien Georgia March 9, 1829 July 19, 1831 rowspan=3 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | Andrew Jackson
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |11 75px Roger B. Taney Maryland July 20, 1831 November 14, 1833
rowspan=2 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |12 75px Benjamin Franklin Butler New York November 15, 1833 July 4, 1838
rowspan=3 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | Martin Van Buren
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |13 75px Felix Grundy Tennessee July 5, 1838 January 10, 1840
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |14 75px Henry D. Gilpin Pennsylvania January 11, 1840 March 4, 1841
15 75px John J. Crittenden Kentucky March 5, 1841 September 12, 1841 William Henry Harrison
John Tyler
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |16 75px Hugh S. Legaré South Carolina September 13, 1841 June 20, 1843
17 75px John Nelson Maryland July 1, 1843 March 4, 1845
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |18 75px John Y. Mason Virginia March 5, 1845 October 16, 1846 rowspan=3 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | James K. Polk
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |19 75px Nathan Clifford Maine October 17, 1846 March 17, 1848
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |20 75px Isaac Toucey Connecticut June 21, 1848 March 4, 1849
21 75px Reverdy Johnson Maryland March 8, 1849 July 21, 1850 Zachary Taylor
22 75px John J. Crittenden Kentucky July 22, 1850 March 4, 1853 Millard Fillmore
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |23 75px Caleb Cushing Massachusetts March 7, 1853 March 4, 1857 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | Franklin Pierce
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |24 75px Jeremiah S. Black Pennsylvania March 6, 1857 December 16, 1860 rowspan=2 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | James Buchanan
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |25 75px Edwin Stanton Pennsylvania December 20, 1860 March 4, 1861
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |26 75px Edward Bates Missouri March 5, 1861 November 24, 1864 rowspan=2 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | Abraham Lincoln
rowspan=2 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |27 75px James Speed Kentucky December 2, 1864 July 22, 1866
rowspan=3 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | Andrew Johnson
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |28 75px Henry Stanbery Ohio July 23, 1866 July 16, 1868
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |29 75px William M. Evarts New York July 17, 1868 March 4, 1869
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |30 75px Ebenezer R. Hoar Massachusetts March 5, 1869 November 22, 1870 rowspan=5 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | Ulysses S. Grant
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |31 75px Amos T. Akerman Georgia November 23, 1870 December 13, 1871
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |32 75px George Henry Williams Oregon December 14, 1871 April 25, 1875
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |33 75px Edwards Pierrepont New York April 26, 1875 May 21, 1876
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |34 75px Alphonso Taft Ohio (born in Vermont) May 22, 1876 March 4, 1877
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |35 75px Charles Devens Massachusetts March 12, 1877 March 4, 1881 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | Rutherford B. Hayes
rowspan=2 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |36 75px Wayne MacVeagh Pennsylvania March 5, 1881 December 15, 1881 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | James A. Garfield
rowspan=2 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | Chester A. Arthur
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |37 75px Benjamin H. Brewster Pennsylvania December 16, 1881 March 4, 1885
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |38 75px Augustus Garland Arkansas March 6, 1885 March 4, 1889 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | Grover Cleveland
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |39 75px William H. H. Miller Indiana March 7, 1889 March 4, 1893 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | Benjamin Harrison
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |40 75px Richard Olney Massachusetts March 6, 1893 April 7, 1895 rowspan=2 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | Grover Cleveland
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |41 75px Judson Harmon Ohio April 8, 1895 March 4, 1897
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |42 75px Joseph McKenna California March 5, 1897 January 25, 1898 rowspan=3 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | William McKinley
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |43 75px John W. Griggs New Jersey January 25, 1898 March 29, 1901
rowspan=2 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |44 75px Philander C. Knox Pennsylvania April 5, 1901 June 30, 1904
rowspan=3 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | Theodore Roosevelt
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |45 75px William Henry Moody Massachusetts July 1, 1904 December 17, 1906
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |46 75px Charles Bonaparte Maryland December 17, 1906 March 4, 1909
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |47 75px George W. Wickersham New York March 4, 1909 March 4, 1913 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | William Howard Taft
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |48 75px James C. McReynolds Tennessee March 5, 1913 August 29, 1914 rowspan=3 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | Woodrow Wilson
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |49 75px Thomas Watt Gregory Texas August 29, 1914 March 4, 1919
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |50 75px A. Mitchell Palmer Pennsylvania March 5, 1919 March 4, 1921
rowspan=2 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |51 75px Harry M. Daugherty Ohio March 4, 1921 April 6, 1924 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | Warren G. Harding
rowspan=3 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | Calvin Coolidge
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |52 75px Harlan F. Stone New York April 7, 1924 March 1, 1925
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |53 75px John G. Sargent Vermont March 7, 1925 March 4, 1929
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |54 75px William D. Mitchell Minnesota March 4, 1929 March 4, 1933 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | Herbert Hoover
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |55 75px Homer Stille Cummings Connecticut March 4, 1933 January 1, 1939 rowspan=4 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | Franklin D. Roosevelt
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |56 75px Frank Murphy Michigan January 2, 1939 January 18, 1940
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |57 75px Robert H. Jackson New York January 18, 1940 August 25, 1941
rowspan=2 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |58 75px Francis Biddle Pennsylvania August 26, 1941 June 26, 1945
rowspan=4 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | Harry S Truman
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |59 75px Tom C. Clark Texas June 27, 1945 July 26, 1949
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |60 75px J. Howard McGrath Rhode Island July 27, 1949 April 3, 1952
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |61 75px James P. McGranery Pennsylvania April 4, 1952 January 20, 1953
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |62 75px Herbert Brownell Jr. New York January 21, 1953 October 23, 1957 rowspan=2 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | Dwight D. Eisenhower
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |63 75px William P. Rogers Maryland October 23, 1957 January 20, 1961
rowspan=2 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |64 75px Robert F. Kennedy Massachusetts January 20, 1961 September 3, 1964 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | John F. Kennedy
rowspan=5 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | Lyndon B. Johnson
rowspan=2 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |65 75px Nicholas Katzenbach Illinois September 4, 1964[a] January 28, 1965
January 28, 1965 November 28, 1966
rowspan=2 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |66 75px Ramsey Clark Texas November 28, 1966[a] March 10, 1967
March 10, 1967 January 20, 1969
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |67 75px John N. Mitchell New York January 20, 1969 February 15, 1972 rowspan=5 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | Richard Nixon
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |68 75px Richard Kleindienst Arizona February 15, 1972 May 25, 1973
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |69 75px Elliot Richardson Massachusetts May 25, 1973 October 20, 1973
75px Robert Bork[b]
Acting
Pennsylvania October 20, 1973 January 4, 1974
rowspan=2 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |70 75px William B. Saxbe Ohio January 4, 1974 January 14, 1975
rowspan=2 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | Gerald Ford
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |71 75px Edward H. Levi Illinois January 14, 1975 January 20, 1977
75px Dick Thornburgh[c]
Acting
Pennsylvania January 20, 1977 January 26, 1977 rowspan=3 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | Jimmy Carter
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |72 75px Griffin Bell Georgia January 26, 1977 August 16, 1979
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |73 75px Benjamin Civiletti Maryland August 16, 1979 January 19, 1981
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |74 75px William French Smith California January 23, 1981 February 25, 1985 rowspan=3 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | Ronald Reagan
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |75 75px Edwin Meese California February 25, 1985 August 12, 1988
rowspan=2 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |76 75px Dick Thornburgh Pennsylvania August 12, 1988 August 15, 1991
rowspan=3 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | George H. W. Bush
rowspan=2 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |77 75px William Barr New York August 16, 1991[a] November 26, 1991
November 26, 1991 January 20, 1993
Stuart M. Gerson[d]
Acting
Washington, D.C. January 20, 1993 March 12, 1993 rowspan=2 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | Bill Clinton
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |78 75px Janet Reno Florida March 12, 1993 January 20, 2001
75px Eric Holder[e]
Acting
Washington, D.C. January 20, 2001 February 2, 2001 rowspan=6 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | George W. Bush
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |79 75px John Ashcroft Missouri February 2, 2001 February 3, 2005
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |80 75px Alberto Gonzales Texas February 3, 2005 September 17, 2007
75px Paul Clement[f]
Acting
Washington, D.C. September 17, 2007 September 18, 2007
75px Peter Keisler[f]
Acting
Washington, D.C. September 18, 2007 November 9, 2007
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |81 75px Michael Mukasey New York November 9, 2007 January 20, 2009
75px Mark Filip
Acting
Illinois January 20, 2009 February 3, 2009 rowspan=3 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | Barack Obama
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |82 75px Eric Holder Washington, D.C. February 3, 2009 April 27, 2015
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |83 75px Loretta Lynch New York April 27, 2015 January 20, 2017
75px Sally Yates[g]
Acting
Georgia January 20, 2017 January 30, 2017 rowspan=5 style="background: Template:United States political party color;" | Donald Trump
75px Dana Boente
Acting
Virginia January 30, 2017 February 9, 2017
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |84 75px Jeff Sessions Alabama February 9, 2017 November 7, 2018
75px Matthew Whitaker
Acting[h]
Iowa November 7, 2018 February 14, 2019
style="background: Template:United States political party color;" |85 75px William Barr Virginia February 14, 2019 Incumbent

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Served as acting attorney general in his capacity as deputy attorney general, until his own appointment and confirmation as attorney general.
  2. On October 20, 1973, Solicitor General Robert Bork became acting attorney general following the "Saturday Night Massacre", in which U.S. Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus both resigned.
  3. Served as acting attorney general in his capacity as deputy attorney general, until the appointment of a new attorney general. Thornburgh later served as attorney general from 1988–1991.
  4. Served as acting attorney general in his capacity as Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ Civil Division.[3][4] Gerson was fourth in the line of succession at the Justice Department, but other senior DOJ officials had already resigned.[5] Janet Reno, President Clinton's nominee for attorney general, was confirmed on March 12,[6] and he resigned the same day.[6]
  5. Served as acting attorney general in his capacity as deputy attorney general, until the appointment of a new attorney general. Holder later served as attorney general from 2009–2015.
  6. 6.0 6.1 On August 27, 2007, President Bush named Solicitor General Paul Clement as the future acting attorney general, to take office upon the resignation of Alberto Gonzales, effective September 17, 2007.[7] On September 17, President Bush announced that Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ Civil Division Peter Keisler would become acting attorney general, pending a permanent appointment of a presidential nominee.[8][9] According to administration officials, Clement became acting attorney general at 12:01 am September 17, 2007, and left office 24 hours later.[10] Keisler served as acting attorney general until the confirmation of Michael Mukasey on November 9, 2007.
  7. Served as acting attorney general in her capacity as deputy attorney general, until she was fired after stating that the Department of Justice would not defend an executive order in court.[11]
  8. The legality of Matthew Whitaker's appointment as Acting Attorney General was called into question by several constitutional scholars. Among those included Neal Katyal and George T. Conway III, who asserted it is unconstitutional, because the Attorney General is a principal officer under the Appointments Clause, and thus requires senate consent, even in an acting capacity.[12] Maryland filed an injunction against Whitaker's appointment on this basis.[13] John E. Bies at Lawfare regarded it as an unresolved question.[14] The DOJ Office of Legal Counsel released a legal opinion, asserting that the appointment was legal and consistent with past precedent.[15]

References

  1. "3 U.S. Code § 19 - Vacancy in offices of both President and Vice President; officers eligible to act". Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  2. Template:UnitedStatesCode.
  3. Cahoon, Ben (2000). "United States Government". World Statesmen. Retrieved December 12, 2008. January 20, 1993 – March 12, 1993 Stuart M. Gerson (acting) (b. 1944)
  4. Staff reporter (February 21, 1993). "Stuart Gerson's Parting Shot". New York Times. Retrieved December 12, 2008. As supporters of the Brady gun-control bill prepare to introduce it in Congress yet again this week, they find a welcome, if unlikely, ally in Stuart Gerson, the Acting Attorney General. Because President Clinton has had so many problems finding a new Attorney General, Mr. Gerson remains in office...
  5. Labaton, Stephen (January 25, 1993). "Notes on Justice; Who's in Charge? Bush Holdover Says He Is, but Two Clinton Men Differ". The New York Times. Retrieved December 12, 2008.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Ifill, Gwen (March 12, 1993). "Reno Confirmed in Top Justice Job". New York Times. Retrieved December 12, 2008. She will replace Acting Attorney General Stuart M. Gerson, a holdover appointee from the Bush Administration. Ms. Reno said he resigned today.
  7. Meyers, Steven Lee (August 27, 2007). "Embattled Attorney General Resigns". The New York Times. Retrieved August 27, 2007.
  8. "President Bush Announces Judge Michael Mukasey as Nominee for Attorney General", White House press release, September 17, 2007
  9. "Bush Text on Attorney General Nomination". NewsOK.com. The Oklahoman. The Associated Press. September 17, 2007. Retrieved September 18, 2007.
  10. Eggen, Dan; Elizabeth Williamson (September 19, 2007). "Democrats May Tie Confirmation to Gonzales Papers". Washington Post. pp. A10. Retrieved September 19, 2007.
  11. Perez, Evan; Diamond, Jeremy (January 30, 2017). "Trump fires acting AG after she declines to defend travel ban". CNN. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  12. "Opinion | Trump's Appointment of the Acting Attorney General Is Unconstitutional". Retrieved 2018-11-15.
  13. "Maryland Says Matthew Whitaker Appointment As Acting Attorney General Is Unlawful". NPR.org. Retrieved 2018-11-15.
  14. "Matthew Whitaker's Appointment as Acting Attorney General: Three Lingering Questions". Lawfare. 2018-11-08. Retrieved 2018-11-15.
  15. CNN, Laura Jarrett,. "DOJ says Whitaker's appointment as acting attorney general is constitutional". CNN. Retrieved 2018-11-15.