Letitia James hit a trifecta as the first elected woman attorney general, the first Black woman elected to statewide office and the first person of color – male or woman – to hold the AG position.
But scoring firsts has characterized the career of the 61-year old native New Yorker. A former New York City Council member, she was also the first Black woman to hold city-wide office.
During the administration of former AG Elliot Spitzer, she was appointed the first Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Brooklyn regional office. She carved out a distinctive niche, championing consumer complaints around predatory lending and other unlawful business practices against the most vulnerable people.
So when she took office in 2019, her prosecutorial teeth were sharp and ready to challenge the wealthy and the well-connected at the highest levels of power.
James, an alumna of Howard University Law School and the City University of New York, commands a prolific hammer. During her first year in office she sued President Trump 20 times for abuses ranging from tax fraud to violations of women’s reproductive rights to illegal immigration crack downs.
When Trump tweeted that Gov. Andrew Cuomo was using James as a bludgeoning tool to get what he wants. James tweeted back.
“As the elected AG of NY, I have a sworn duty to protect and uphold state law. My office will follow the facts of any case, wherever they lead. Make no mistake: No one is above the law, not even the President. P.S. My name is Letitia James. (You can call me Tish.)
Trump continued the Twitter war last month, again admonishing the New York governor to stop the unnecessary lawsuits and harassment.
James interjected: “When you stop violating the rights and liberties of all New Yorkers, we will stand down. Until then, we have a duty and responsibility to defend the Constitution and the rule of law. BTW, I file the lawsuits, not the Governor.”