Power puts attorney general at risk

Power puts attorney general at risk

July 2nd, 2013 by The Tennessean in Local - Breaking News

Attorney General Robert Cooper gestures during an interview.

Photo by The Tennessean /Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE -- Tennessee Attorney General Robert Cooper has emerged as a secret weapon for Gov. Bill Haslam and state lawmakers seeking to douse some of the fiery legislation put out this year.

But his legal advice may have put his office in jeopardy.

A string of high-profile opinions has shown the political clout the attorney general wields. Though seldom a focus of public attention, the state's top lawyer has influenced some of the year's biggest debates, touching on topics from animal cruelty to Vanderbilt University's nondiscrimination policy.

This was not the first time the attorney general's legal acumen carried weight. But with Republican clout on the rise, support appears to be growing for legislation that would strip the attorney general's office of some of its duties or change how he is selected.

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