Answered By: Kate Britt
Last Updated: Feb 06, 2018     Views: 0

Attorneys General for federal and state governments give legal advice to executive agencies upon request. The opinions they issue are binding upon the agencies and are often used by others as persuasive evidence of the law. Attorney General opinions are cited in annotated statutes, federal and state digests, and some federal annotations. Not all attorney general opinions are published.


Federal Attorney General Opinions

  • The Annual Report of the Attorney General of the U.S. contains opinions of the United States Attorney General.
  • Lexis Advance: Enter "US Attorney General Opinions" into search box. Select "Sources - US Attorney General Opinions" from the dropdown menu.
  • Westlaw: Browse > Administrative Decisions & Guidance > Department of Justice > U.S. Attorney General Opinions
  • HeinOnline: Under "Browse Databases by Name" find collection titled "U.S. Attorney General & Department of Justice Collection."
     

Formal opinions are rarely issued. The Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel issues informal opinions.


Michigan Attorney General Opinions

  • Michigan attorney general opinions and reports are published in the Biennial Report of the Attorney General of the State of Michigan, located in SMITH KFM 4627.5.A8 A156x and REF COLL KFM 4627.5.A8 A156x 
  • Lexis Advance: State > Michigan > All Michigan Administrative Materials > MI Attorney General Opinions
  • Westlaw: Browse > Administrative Decisions & Guidance > Michigan > Attorney General Opinions
  • HeinOnline: Under "Browse Databases by Name" find collection titled "State Attorney General Reports and Opinions." Navigate to Michigan.
  • SPO/Digital General Collection, 1838-1896: Browse the list of author results for "Michigan. Attorney General's Dept."


Other States' Attorney General Opinions

Attorney general opinions and reports are available for about 2/3 of the other states.

  • Frequently entitled "Opinion of the Attorney General," they can be found at the end of each state's materials in SMITH.
  • Attorney General opinions can also be found in the annotated statutes and digests for many states. Type “Biennial Report of the Attorney General of [state]” in the MLaw Library Catalog title search to see which states we have opinions for. 
  • Lexis, Westlaw, HeinOnline: Other State Attorney General Opinions can be found using the same path given for Michigan but substitute the state of choice for “Michigan”. ​


Attorney General Orders

  • Some attorney general orders are published in the Federal Register.
  • Selected publications are available at the DOJ website.
  • Others must be obtained by calling the Department of Justice reference library at (202) 514-3775.

 

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