Dem AGs join front lines of Trump opposition

James Tierney, who fought the Reagan administration on acid rain prevention as Maine’s Democratic attorney general, said the legal fights have grown more partisan over the years.

‘It used to be we did this all on a bipartisan basis,’ he said.

‘I was a Democrat, but the Vermont AG [John Easton] was a Republican, and we frankly didn’t notice much whether somebody was a Democrat or Republican, we just went in and did it.’

Hawaii Sues to Block Trump Travel Ban; First Challenge to Order

James E. Tierney, a former attorney general of Maine who works extensively with current state attorneys general, said most Democrats were approaching Mr. Trump’s new order cautiously.

Mr. Tierney, a Democrat, said state lawyers were “researching the constitutionality” of the order before settling on a public course of action.

“They believe strongly that just because they don’t like something, doesn’t mean it is unconstitutional,” Mr. Tierney said.
  • Alexander Burns, “Hawaii Sues to Block Trump Travel Ban; First Challenge to Order,” The New York Times, March 8, 2017.

Democratic attorneys general lead the charge against Trump

‘The AGs consider themselves a thin blue line against federal overreach, there’s no question about it,’ said James Tierney, the former attorney general of Maine who runs a blog about state attorneys general.

There are 23 Democratic state attorneys general, including the District of Columbia, and 27 Republicans. Alaska’s attorney general is an independent.

About 10 Democratic AGs, grouped on the East and West coasts, are known to take a more activist role in suing the federal government, Tierney said. Some others would be more active but Republican Legislatures have curtailed their power and resources.

Tierney advises many of the Democrats coordinating their efforts against Trump. The group is braced to file more suits in coming months.

‘It’s actually an essential part of federalism in that attorneys general will hold the president’s feet to the fire,’ Tierney said.

AGs Ready to Take On Trump

Trump doesn’t come to office with a clean slate when it comes to relations with attorneys general. [New York Attorney General Eric] Schneiderman helped negotiate a $25 million settlement immediately after the election regarding allegations of fraud involving Trump University….

‘Donald Trump, citizen, not Donald Trump, president, enters the world of AGs on a watch list,’ says James Tierney, a former Maine attorney general who now teaches at Harvard University. ‘He ran a routine, garden-variety fraud — Trump University — and he was caught. Every attorney general I’ve talked to has had complainants in his state. Everybody opened files. When somebody’s a fraudster, they get on everybody’s agenda. It changes the way you look at him or her.’

To Combat Trump, Democrats Ready a G.O.P. Tactic: Lawsuits

People are coming up to me and saying, ‘What’s going to happen?’ said James E. Tierney, a former attorney general of Maine, who ran a program studying attorneys general at Columbia Law School. Mr. Tierney, a Democrat, now lectures at Harvard Law School. ‘There’s a lot of eye-rolling down here, in both parties, like, ‘Oh my God.’

In Exxon Case, Judge Cancels Massachusetts AG’s Dallas Deposition

‘The implications of this are really, really serious,’ said Mr. Tierney, a Democrat who has worked with attorneys general of both political parties, noting that he believes the effect is that it ‘chills all legitimate investigations. ‘This isn’t about Exxon. This is about an attempt to chill government’s ability to investigate malfeasance.’

Conservatives pour money into races for state attorneys general

‘The amount of money is staggering,”’ said James Tierney, a former Maine attorney general and an adjunct professor at Harvard Law School who blames the Citizens United ruling, which lifted limits on corporate political contributions. ‘But that’s because it’s legal, and it’s legal because the Supreme Court said it was legal.’

Conservative Effort to Challenge Obama Programs Is Weakened By Scalia’s Death

In light of the sudden passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, James Tierney notes that decisions on pending cases involving a coalition of Republican attorneys general are now up in the air.  

Michigan GOPer Investigating Flint Water Crisis Also Defending State Against Flint Lawsuit

Using the investigation into Flint’s water crisis, James Tierney explains that state attorneys general often find themselves on opposite sides of the same case. Tierney discusses the options available to a state attorney general under such circumstances.

Exxon Inquiry Both Mirrors and Contrasts With Tobacco Industry Case

‘The issue with Exxon, just as it was with tobacco, is what did they know and when did they know it,’ Mr. Tierney said. ‘If internal documents at Exxon show that they deliberately misled consumers and investors, then Exxon has potential liability.’ But, he added, ‘If the documents do not exist, then Exxon has nothing to worry about.’

It’s Illinois vs. Illinois in Supreme Court Duel for Justices Attention

Tierney tells the New York Times that the “law in Illinois is clearly on the side of the attorney general” when it comes to who represents the state its officials, and the state’s litigation positions in court.

States likely to seek settlement in Volkswagen emissions investigation

As the states begin their investigation into the Volkswagen emissions scandal, James Tierney tells the PBS News Hour that a large-scale civil settlement is likely, but only after any and all criminal investigation and cases have been resolved.

Fighting Smoke With Fire

In the ongoing tobacco wars, Tierney, these days a consultant hired by state attorneys general, is part strategist, traffic cop, lawyer and spin doctor. His 10 years of experience as attorney general in Maine during the 1980s and his knack for a sound bite have gotten him quoted more often in the national press than many incumbent AGs. He’s a new breed of activist and outsider who, with a little help from digital technology, can influence Washington policy debates from far beyond the Beltway — and become something of an insider in the process.

The Tobacco Wars: Strategist of Smoking Assault Calls Shots from Maine Farm

Control Central for the 35 attorneys general and 200 private lawyers pressing the vast legal assault on Big Tobacco is, incredibly, the perfect rural stillness of a weathered old farmhouse near tiny Lisbon Falls, Maine.

Up the stairs, in a small bedroom that affords a view of his neighbor’s pasture and occasionally yields up the wafting fragrance of his own ancient apple trees, James E. Tierney is a one-man information clearinghouse in the wave of lawsuits that is expected to redefine the role of cigarettes in U.S. commerce and society.

This rangy, 50-year-old man wearing blue jeans, a green plaid shirt and dusty old hiking shoes - a regular Mainer, you might say - is the spin doctor, coordinator and a key strategist for the attorneys general who are suing to make tobacco companies repay Medicaid money spent to treat smoking-related diseases.