“Special Solicitude”: The Growing Power of State Attorneys General

Mark L. Earley *

The most powerful elected position in the United States today, with respect to checking any perceived overreach of presidential or federal power, is not in Congress, the House of Representatives or the Senate, but is among the fifty state attorneys general.

When Attorney General Shapiro of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was asked to run for the United States Senate, he declined saying, “I’m going to run for attorney general because that is the most impactful elected position in America today.” I think he is right.

Continue reading


* Attorney General of Virginia, 1998–2001; Virginia State Senator, 1988–1998. J.D., Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William & Mary; B.A., College of William & Mary. This speech was delivered at the 2017 University of Richmond Law Review Symposium: Defining the Constitution’s President Through Legal and Political Conflict on October 27, 2017, at the University of Richmond School of Law.

css.php