The Role of the State Attorney General [POLICYbrief]
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The Role of the State Attorney General [POLICYbrief]


We have a broad portfolio. Our office does everything from, you know,
criminal justice prosecutions, civil rights investigations, we have a civil litigation
division that is responsible for representing the state in civil lawsuits, whether that’s
initiating lawsuits or defending the state against lawsuits. Really our core function is to handle every
criminal appeal from the circuit level higher. That’s really one of the basic things we,
we do as AGs from day-to-day. You also defend the Constitution, not only
of the State of Florida but for the United States of America. We argue cases from the state trial court
to the U.S. Supreme Court. Cases may include a criminal case, public
protection case, going after a bad company that has hurt Arkansans and Americans, Medicaid
fraud, people who take advantage of taxpayer dollars. Regardless of what it is, we’re going to handle
it. Again, it may be a state trial court level
all the way up to the United States Supreme Court. We are the state’s largest law firm, and I
would submit the state’s most important law firm. We have more than 400 lawyers. More than a thousand employees. We handle cabinet meetings, clemency hearings,
as well as criminal appeals, consumer protection is so important in Florida, especially during
hurricane season with price gauging. Attorney general is a representative of the
government. And I believe very strongly when you’re the
government, when you have the ability to take away people’s livelihoods, their life, their
liberty, and their property, you’ve got to be held to the highest standards. An attorney general is the chief legal officer,
and the chief law enforcement officer of the state. All states have an attorney general whether
it’s appointed or elected depends on the state. In Arizona, the attorney general is elected. That, that’s the case in an overwhelming majority
of the states. In Arizona, we’re up for election every four
years, and you can’t serve more than two consecutive terms. And it’s a statewide election in Florida. 43 states have elections similar to Florida. Some states are actually appointed by the
governor. And then in Tennessee, the AG is chosen by the Supreme Court. One state, which is Maine, the AG is chosen
by the legislature. Most states have residency requirements. In Arkansas, you must be a registered voter
of the State of Arkansas. As attorney general, it is my job and the
role of the office to always defend the people of Arkansas to uphold the rule of law, and
so whether it’s going to court, insuring criminals are kept behind bars, protecting the public
from bad businesses or con artists and criminals, or going after those who take advantage of
taxpayer dollars. Cause you can’t be a champion of federalism or
state sovereignty only when it’s convenient to you. As AG’s, we have to be consistent. Regardless of who the President is, you have
to be consistent in enforcing the rule of law and making sure that the constitutional
prerogatives are followed. Whether or not you agree or disagree with
the verdict, it’s your job to handle those appeals. I tell people all the time, I’m not a policymaker. Myself, as the attorney general, my job is
to enforce the law as it is, not as I want it to be. My favorite part about being the attorney
general is knowing that we are seeking justice and upholding and defending the rule of law,
that America was founded on our principles of law and ensuring that every American has
the opportunities to succeed. As the attorney general, I get to defend those
laws every single day. No matter what state you live in, what we
do has an impact on your life. The scope and breadth of a state attorneys
generals’ practice is broader very often than people realize because what we do touches
someone’s life in Arizona every single day.

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