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Attorney General of Texas


Attorney General of Texas

Attorney General of Texas
Greg Abbott

since December 2, 2002
Style The Honorable
Term length Four years, no term limits
Inaugural holder Volney E. Howard
Formation Texas Constitution
Website [1]

The Texas Attorney General is the chief legal and law enforcement officer of the State of Texas.

The department has offices at the William P. Clements State Office Building in Downtown Austin.[1][2]


The Office of the Attorney General was first established by executive ordinance of the Republic of Texas government in 1836. The attorneys general of the Republic of Texas and the first four attorneys general under the 1845 state constitution were appointed by the governor. The office was made elective in 1850 by constitutional amendment.

The attorney general is elected to a four-year term. The current 49th attorney general of Texas is Greg Abbott (Republican), in office since December 2, 2002. Abbott was re-elected in 2006 and 2010 and as of July 18, 2012, he is the longest-serving Attorney General in Texas history and by the end of his third term, Abbott will have served 12 years in office.

Duties and responsibilities

The attorney general is charged by the state constitution to defend the laws and constitution of Texas, represent the state in litigation, and approve public bond issues. There are nearly 2,000 references to the Office of the Attorney General in state laws.

To fulfill these responsibilities, the Office of the Attorney General serves as legal counsel to all boards and agencies of state government, issues legal opinions when requested by the governor, heads of state agencies and other officials and commissions, and defends challenges to state laws and suits against both state agencies and individual employees of the state. These duties include representing the Director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in appeals from criminal convictions in federal courts. The Office of the Attorney General, Law Enforcement Division employs a staff of sworn commissioned Texas peace officers (state police) that investigate public corruption, violent crime, human trafficking, money laundering, medicaid provider fraud, mortgage fraud, election violations, cybercrime, fugitives (apprehension), investigate other special classes of offenses, and conduct criminal investigations at the request of local prosecutors. In addition, the Law Enforcement Division is the state of Texas liaison to Interpol (International Criminal Police Organization) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). The office is also charged with proceedings to secure child support through its Child Support Division.[3]

List of Texas Attorneys General

State of Texas

Attorney General Took office Left office Party
Volney E. Howard February 21, 1846 May 7, 1846 Democrat
John W. Harris May 7, 1846 October 31, 1849 Democrat
Henry P. Brewster October 31, 1849 January 15, 1850
Andrew Jackson Hamilton January 15, 1850 August 5, 1850 Democrat
Ebenezer Allen1 August 5, 1850 August 2, 1852
Thomas J. Jennings August 2, 1852 August 4, 1856
James Willie August 4, 1856 August 2, 1858
Malcolm D. Graham August 2, 1858 August 6, 1860 Democrat
George M. Flournoy August 6, 1860 January 15, 1862 Democrat
Nathan G. Shelley Democrat
Benjamin E. Tarver
William Alexander Republican
William M. Walton August 9, 1866 August 8, 1867 Democrat
Ezekiel B. Turner Nov. 5, 1867 July 11, 1870 Independent
William Alexander July 11, 1870 Jan. 27, 1874 Republican
George W. Clark Jan. 27, 1874 Apr. 25, 1876 Democrat
Hannibal H. Boone Apr. 25, 1876 Nov. 5, 1878 Democrat
George McCormick Nov. 5, 1878 Nov. 2, 1880
James H. McLeary Nov. 2, 1880 Nov. 7, 1882 Democrat
John D. Templeton Nov. 7, 1882 Nov. 2, 1886 Democrat
James S. Hogg Nov. 2, 1886 Nov. 4, 1890 Democrat
Charles A. Culberson Nov. 4, 1890 Nov. 8, 1894 Democrat
Martin M. Crane Nov. 6, 1894 Nov. 8, 1898 Democrat
Thomas S. Smith Nov. 8, 1898 March 15, 1901 Democrat
Charles K. Bell March 15, 1901 1904 Democrat
Robert V. Davidson 1904 January 1, 1910 Democrat
Jewel P. Lightfoot January 1, 1910 August 31, 1912 Democrat
James D. Walthall September 1, 1912 January 1, 1913 Democrat
B. F. Looney January 1, 1913 January 1919 Democrat
Calvin M. Cureton January 1919 December 1921 Democrat
Walter Angus Keeling December 1921 January 1925 Democrat
Dan Moody January 1925 January 1927 Democrat
Claude Pollard January 1927 September 1929 Democrat
Robert L. Bobbitt2 September 1929 January 1931 Democrat
James Allred January 1931 January 1935 Democrat
William McCraw January 1935 January 1939 Democrat
Gerald Mann3 January 1939 January 1944 Democrat
Grover Sellers January 1944 January 1947 Democrat
Price Daniel January 1947 January 1953 Democrat
John Ben Shepperd January 1953 January 1, 1957 Democrat
Will Wilson January 1, 1957 January 15, 1963 Democrat
Waggoner Carr January 15, 1963 January 1, 1967 Democrat
Crawford C. Martin January 1, 1967 December 29, 1972 Democrat
John Hill January 1, 1973 January 19, 1979 Democrat
Mark White January 19, 1979 January 18, 1983 Democrat
Jim Mattox January 18, 1983 January 15, 1991 Democrat
Dan Morales January 15, 1991 January 13, 1999 Democrat
John Cornyn January 13, 1999 December 2, 2002 Republican
Greg Abbott December 2, 2002 present Republican

Attorney General Greg Abbott was reelected as the 50th Attorney General of Texas on November 2, 2010. Prior to his election as attorney general, Greg Abbott served as a Justice on the Texas Supreme Court and as a State District Judge in Harris County.

As the state's chief law enforcement official, Abbott has made protecting children and families and values the focus of his administration. Shortly after taking office, Abbott established a Cyber Crimes Unit to arrest criminals who use the Internet to prey upon children; a Fugitive Unit to arrest convicted sex offenders who violate their parole; and an expanded Medicaid Fraud Control Unit to crack down on elder abuse and waste of taxpayer dollars. Since taking office, General Abbott has collected more than $27 billion in child support for Texas children.

In his capacity as the state's lawyer, the Attorney General oversees more than 700 attorneys who represent the State of Texas. General Abbott has personally appeared in courtrooms around the state and has obtained indictments against criminals charged with offenses ranging from attempted aggravated assault of a child to capital murder. In March 2005, Abbott personally appeared before the United States Supreme Court, where he successfully defended the constitutionality of the Ten Commandments display that adorns the Texas Capitol grounds.

General Abbott's career in public service began in Houston, where he served as a highly rated state trial judge in the 129th District Court for three years and was named "Trial Judge of the Year" by the Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists. In 1995, then-Governor George W. Bush appointed Abbott to the Texas Supreme Court, where he served with distinction. Twice elected to the Texas Supreme Court, Abbott earned numerous awards, including "Jurist of the Year" from the Texas Review of Law & Politics and Appellate Specialists; and "Appellate Judge of the Year" from the Texas Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates."

An active participant in his community, General Abbott has held leadership positions in numerous organizations, including the Central Texas Chapter of Goodwill Industries, the Governor's Committee to Promote Adoption, Justice for All, and the Texas Institute for Rehabilitation and Research Foundation. In 2004, General Abbott served as Honorary State Chairman of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Texas.

Political prominence

Many leading political figures in Texas history have served as attorney general, several of them using the office as a jumping off place to other offices in the state and national government. Attorneys general James S. Hogg, Charles A. Culberson, Dan Moody, James Allred, Price Daniel, and Mark White were elected governor. Culberson, Daniel, and John Cornyn were later elected to the United States Senate.[4]


  1. First elected Attorney General
  2. Appointed
  3. Resigned


  • Family court judge sheds light on unfair child support practices in Texas

External links

  • Texas Attorney General
  • Handbook of Texas Online
  • Portal to Texas History.
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