State Attorneys General Are Fighting To Keep Environmental Laws

There’s a reason why we have state government in this country, and it’s because when the federal government doesn’t act or acts illegally, states have the legal authority to do something about it. State attorneys general around the country are standing up for science and standing up for climate change in many, many different forms.
— James Tierney

Facebook, Google Face Multi-State Antitrust Investigations

Just the pending of this investigation is going to make an impact. During the Obama years, YouTube got gobbled up by Google and Instagram was grabbed by Facebook. Neither of these companies is going to be buying anything during this investigation.… So I think just the pendency of this can make a difference in the marketplace and give innovators and people who are looking to find new ways to compete a little courage because the giants are on hold — at least until we find out what’s going to happen in the case.
— James Tierney

A coalition of state attorneys general launch antitrust probes into Facebook and Google. They tell us why. With Phil Weiser, James Tierney, Tim Wu, Stephen Houck, hosted by Meghna Chakrabarti.

Meghna Chakrabarti, "Facebook, Google Face Multi-State Antitrust Investigations," On Point, WBUR, September 10, 2019.

‘Ageless’ Enforcer Who Helped Tame Microsoft Now Eyes Big Tech

He has this kind of Midwestern suspicion of bigness,” Jim Tierney, the former Maine attorney general, Jim
said. “He doesn’t like bullies and he doesn’t like people who push others around.
— Victoria Graham, Bloomberg Law

Iowa Governor Vetoes Limit On Attorney General

James Tierney, a national expert on state attorneys general, said it is common for state attorneys general to join lawsuits against presidents of the opposing political party, but there have been more lawsuits against the Trump administration.

Tierney said Reynolds’ veto was the right thing to do, because the attorney general is supposed to be independent from the governor.

’The idea is to provide an independent legal authority that will speak for the people and not necessarily for any particular gubernatorial administration,,’ Tierney said.
— Iowa Public Radio

Multistate lawsuits against Trump in 2 years exceed those against Obama, Bush in 8 years

Tierney said the administration is making fewer mistakes that could lead to losses on procedural grounds, but he suspects there could be an increase in investigations of Trump by attorneys general.

Harvard Law Today: The Law and the Digital World

Photo Credit: Martha Stewart The AGTech Forum is the brainchild of Lecturer on Law Jim Tierney, who served as Maine’s attorney general from 1980 to 1990 and directs the Attorney General Clinic at HLS.

Photo Credit: Martha Stewart
The AGTech Forum is the brainchild of Lecturer on Law Jim Tierney, who served as Maine’s attorney general from 1980 to 1990 and directs the Attorney General Clinic at HLS.

‘Attorneys general did not have access to the very top experts, who could see not only the tech issues now, but the tech issues of the future,’ says Tierney, who often consults with attorneys general… ‘They’ve had to make tough prosecutorial decisions about tech-related matters, [without] access to those experts.

So, Tierney pitched Berkman Klein Center Directors and Professors Chris Bavitz and Jonathan Zittrain ’95 on the idea of hosting tech conferences for attorneys general. The AGTech Forum fits neatly with Berkman Klein’s long-term goals, says Bavitz….
— Erick Trickey, "The Law and the Digital World ," Harvard Law Today

New state attorneys general to ramp up consumer protection fight

‘The election results across the country sent a message to attorneys general that you better have a robust consumer division,’ James Tierney, a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, who served for 10 years as attorney general in Maine, said in an interview. ‘I think that goes to all attorneys general in both political parties.’

Kirk Victor, “New state attorneys general to ramp up consumer protection fight,” Issue 951, FTCWatch (newsletter), December 3, 2018.

The Takeaway: Why Attorney General Races Draw National Attention (and Donations)

The US Supreme Court in 2006 gave the states the special right to sue the federal government when other organizations can’t. But the real reason it’s happening is because of the integration of our economy.

Why Attorney General Races Draw National Attention (and Donations),” The Takeaway, WNYC, November 16, 2018.

These 8 Attorney-General Races Could Make A Big Difference To Trump’s Agenda

State attorneys general have become nationally more important in a time of political gridlock, said James Tierney, a former attorney general of Maine and a lecturer at Harvard Law School. Apart from their ability to sue the federal government directly, there are other ways for AGs to influence policy — whether they believe the problem is federal overreach or underreach. They can, for example, limit how much state and local law enforcement officers cooperate with federal immigration agencies or step in to sue companies when they believe the federal government isn’t doing enough to protect citizens.

Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux and Nathaniel Rakich, “These 8 Attorney-General Races Could Make A Big Difference To Trump’s Agenda,” FiveThirtyEight, October 22, 2018.

State AG races are ‘where the action is’ this fall

‘Ever since tobacco [litigation in the 1990s], the AGs have become national figures.… Even a small state AG can impact a national corporation. So if the AG of Maine decides that Dunkin’ Donuts [for example] is doing something wrong … then that gets on the Internet and Dunkin’ Donut franchisees all over the country get nervous because of what somebody did in Maine.’

‘And because the economy is integrated, does it really make any difference whether it is an assistant AG in Connecticut or an assistant AG in Missouri who looks at Dunkin’ Donuts? The answer is no.’

‘So with that integration at work, the question is what is actually happening here [with races for state attorneys general getting more play and attention, and more partisan],’ Tierney added. ‘There may be much less there than meets the eye.’

Kirk Victor, “State AG races are ‘where the action is’ this fall,” FTCWatch, Issue 946 (newsletter), September 17, 2018.

The Most Effective Way for Democrats to Fight Trump’s Agenda Isn’t Where You Think It Is

The end of the incumbency rule, says Tierney, could make it more difficult for attorneys general to collaborate on litigation that affects many states, red and blue, including against pharmaceutical companies. ‘Now that AGs can run against other AGs, I imagine it’s pretty difficult for them to have confidential discussions across party lines, and that’s a problem,’ he says.

Wisdom of another opioid lawsuit questioned

Trump’s directive for a ‘major lawsuit’ [against opioid manufacturers] made at a Cabinet meeting Thursday, ‘doesn’t make sense,’ said James Tierney, former attorney general of Maine. ‘There’s so much leverage that the federal government already has. They don’t need to use a court system.’

.... ‘If the president really wanted to do something about opioids,’ Tierney said, he could implement many of the 56 final recommendations, widely praised, from the commission he appointed Chris Christie to lead two months after taking office.

Sarah Owermohle, "Wisdom of another opioid lawsuit questioned," Prescription Pulse, Politico, August 20, 2018.

Josh Shapiro driven by ambition, desire to tackle big problems

‘[PA AG Josh Schapiro] took over an office that obviously was in real crisis and he turned it around very quickly,’ said James Tierney, a Harvard Law School professor and former Maine attorney general who works with attorneys general around the country. ‘He’s shown real leadership.’

Wes Venteicher, "Josh Shapiro driven by ambition, desire to tackle big problems,", Aug. 26, 2018.

With Schneiderman Out, Environmental Fight Loses a Prominent Voice

In the wake of scandal, the shock to staff members is keenly felt, but ‘after a day, the assistant A. G.s will get back to work,’ Mr. Tierney said. In fact, he said, cases might proceed more smoothly without Mr. Schneiderman, whose tendency to garner publicity for himself could be a distraction.

John Schwartz, "With Schneiderman Out, Environmental Fight Loses a Prominent Voice," New York Times, May 9, 2018.

With Eric Schneiderman out as NY attorney general, who will lead the Trump resistance?

‘All of the work they were doing yesterday they’re doing today,’ Tierney told NBC News, adding that the New York attorney general’s office has a talented staff. ‘This isn’t about any individual, this is about our Constitution and our laws. We’ve got a lot of professional prosecutors who are working while we’re talking.’

‘Nothing Changes’: NY AG Will Remain Check On Trump Without Schneiderman

‘Absolutely nothing changes,’ James Tierney, former director of the National State Attorney General Program and lecturer at Harvard University, told TPM.

’He’s got a great staff,’ Tierney continued. ‘Nothing is going to change. There’s no legal difference.’

Allegra Kirkland, "‘Nothing Changes’: NY AG Will Remain Check On Trump Without Schneiderman," Talking Points Memo, May 8, 2018.

Vice News Interview: Are opioids the new Big Tobacco?

A number of Attorneys General began investigating the marketing practices of the opioid industry using a tobacco model. Now the judge could do several things. He’s got to figure out a way to sort through these law suits and to settle them in a way that money goes to public health and doesn’t just waste it the way they did much of the tobacco dollars. We should use it to address the huge issue at the moment which is the inability of addicts, 2.2 million addicts, to get appropriate care.

Cassandra Giraldo, Here’s why Big Pharma won’t pay for opioid deaths like Big Tobacco pays for cancer, Vice News, Apr 23, 2018.

For the full interview, "Are opioids the new Big Tobacco?," see the April 16, 2018 episode of Vice News Tonight, available on HBO.

Activist state attorneys-general take on Trump and Facebook

Today all 50 states and the District of Columbia have an officer with the title of attorney-general. All but a handful are elected in partisan elections, and all reflect the core philosophy of their respective political parties. And most importantly, each one has the extraordinary power to go to court to challenge the decisions of the US president or anyone else that affect their home turf.
— James Tierney

James Tierney, "Activist state attorneys-general take on Trump and Facebook," Financial Times, March 27, 2018.

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