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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » A question for the Lawyers (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Woland
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680 Posts

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Why do commentators and Congressmen often address the Attorney General as "General"? Does that make any sense? I thought that the noun in that title was "Attorney" and the adjective was "General," not that the "Attorney General" holds a general's rank, like a "Lieutenant General" or a "Major General." (Much less a "Modern Major General.")
mastermindreader
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The proper form of address is "Mr. Attorney General."
S2000magician
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Yorba Linda, CA
3469 Posts

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Quote:
On 2013-05-15 16:51, Woland wrote:
Why do commentators and Congressmen often address the Attorney General as "General"?

Either ignorance or stupidity. I leave it to you to decide which.

Quote:
On 2013-05-15 16:51, Woland wrote:
Does that make any sense?

It does if they're ignorant or stupid.

Quote:
On 2013-05-15 16:51, Woland wrote:
I thought that the noun in that title was "Attorney" and the adjective was "General," . . . .

It is; hence, the plural: Attorneys General.
balducci
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Canada
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The guy at this link agrees with you all, but adds a bit more to the discussion ...

http://www.formsofaddress.info/attorney_general.html

Excerpt:

My first reaction is that you are right -- I am not familiar with General being used as an honorific for an Attorney General. The Attorney General of the United States is addressed most formally as Mr. Attorney General.

I mentioned the question to a room full of trainees at The Protocol School of Washington's Protocol Officer Training and they thought the use was bizarre. But most of them were from the government and military where they have plenty of generals in uniform wearing stars.

But I do see on the National Association of Attorneys General website they use General (Surname) in the bios of some of their member attorneys general.

Still not quite believing it I spoke to Chris Young, Chief of Protocol, State of Georgia and an attorney. He says attorneys general and solicitors general are addressed and referred to as General (Surname) in courtroom settings. He says in federal and state supreme and appellate court proceedings you will see references to attorney generals as General (Surname).

A law librarian at the Library of Congress did some research on this at my request and confirms in oral arguments, court documents record the Attorney General and Solicitor General as "Gen. (full name), Esq."

Got an e-mail from BF who said "Spoke with an acquaintance who is a retired Judge Advocate General Corps brigadier general and now a law professor. He indicated the use of “general” started with US Attorney General Janet Reno, when some in the media hung the title on her as a result of her role in “the defeat of Branch Davidian forces at the 1993 Battle of Waco.” Over the years there have been increasing cases of misuse of the title by those who don’t realize that “general” in attorney general is not a title but an adjective used to modify/describe the noun attorney.
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