What are Attorney General Opinions and Memoranda?
This collection includes opinions and memoranda written by Attorneys General, Assistant Attorneys General and Deputy Attorneys General. These typically answer questions of law posed by state agencies, the Governor, and legislators, but also sometimes answer questions posed by people outside of state government. The current statute relating to opinions on questions of law is 5 MRS §195.
When did the Attorney General Opinions and Memoranda begin?
The earliest Attorney General Opinion and Memoranda that we have in our collection is from 1919, but there is no clear start date to when they began. The current statute, 5 MRS §195, can be traced back to P.L. 1905, ch. 162. The earliest opinions and memoranda were included in the annual Report of the Attorney General. The Report of the Attorney General goes back to 1859, but opinions weren't always included in this publication. We are continually adding to the collection as we discover opinions in the course of our research or when new opinions are issued.
How are they organized?
These are organized chronologically. While later opinions were often assigned an identifying number, this was not always a formal system and it is unclear who was assigning the numbers and not all opinions and memoranda were assigned a number. When present, the numbers were sometimes hand-written on the opinions themselves. The numbering system may not have always been formal, but it is a valuable piece of citation information is included on these pages when available.
How do I find stuff here?
Depending on what information you are starting with, there are several ways to find opinions. If you are looking for a specific opinion or memoranda and know the date that the opinion was issued, then you can navigate to the corresponding year from the Attorney General Opinions and Memoranda homepage. If you are looking for opinions or memoranda that discuss a particular piece of legislation, statute, case, constitution, or regulation, use the Attorney General Opinion and Memoranda Master List. This is a page containing a single list of all the Attorney General Opinions and Memoranda in our collection along with all of the references used in those opinions or memoranda. Using the CTRL+F function in your browser, you can search using a controlled form of citations, which is loosely based on the University of Maine School of Law's Uniform Maine Citations.
Note that citations within the Attorney General Opinions and Memoranda were checked for accuracy and corrected when appropriate. Therefore, citations on the webpage may look difference from those within the document.
- For enacted legislation, use PL yyyy, c. ###.
- For proposed but not enacted legislation, use LD #### (xxxth Legislature yyyy). Note that if you are looking for a bill that eventually became law, search for the law citation rather than the original bill.
- For statutes, use the format of # MRSA ### for state statutes or # USCA ### for the US Code.
- For cases, use A.2d citations when available, and the Maine Reporter (Me.) for earlier cases. For US Supreme Court cases, use the S.Ct. citation. Note for cases is that we only included cases from courts in which Maine is part of their jurisdiction. As such, cases from other states are not included even if mentioned in the AG opinion or memoranda.
- For Maine Constitution sections, use Me. Const. Art. [roman numeral], Pt. #, §#. For US Constitution sections, use US Const. Art. [roman numeral], §# or US Const. Amend. [roman numeral].
- For regulations, the CMR citation is used, ##-### CMR ##. For the CFR, use, ## CFR ###.
What if I have further questions?
Contact the Law and Legislative Reference Library via their "Ask a Law Librarian" web form