State attorneys general have a complex relationship with the federal government, including the Department of Justice, local U.S. Attorneys, and other federal agencies. In most cases, attorneys general cooperate with federal agencies to carry out federal policy but in some cases and in some states attorneys general attempt to either challenge or prompt federal action. This section analyzes this complex and changing relationship.

We begin with the role of State attorneys general that everyone knows about today, namely, suing the federal government. Although people think of that as Republican AGs suing Obama and Democratic AGs suing Trump, it is more than that, and much older than that. Then, we look at the role of State attorneys general working with the federal government. Finally, we consider the role of preemption in which the federal government tries to prevent State attorneys general from taking action.

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