The first week explores the nature of the authority and the culture that pervades offices of Attorneys General. The first chapter of Walter Mondale's The Good Fight, which covers Mondale's time as the Attorney General of Minnesota over 50 years ago, serves as an introduction to the Role of the Attorney General. Used with the permission (and to the personal delight) of the author, this edited chapter combines almost all aspects of the office of Attorney General that we study throughout the semester, e.g., the common law, statutory authority, conflicting legal and policy demands, resource restriction, the role of academics and outside counsel, partisan politics, and personal ambition. The chapter is also testimony that for all of the changes in the legal and political world, some things remain remarkably the same.

The first week also contains readings that describe parens patriae and the duty of Attorneys General to represent all of the people of their States and not to limit themselves to representing a specific state agency.

Note: Links open in this window/tab. Use your browser’s “back” button to return to the syllabus.