Zephyr Teachout is a law professor and is a constitutional law expert.
Her priorities as Attorney General are:
- Leading the legal resistance against the Trump assault on law
- Cleaning house on Albany corruption
- Battling financial fraud and corporate scams
- Spearheading the moral argument against mass incarceration
She grew up in a small rural town with a Constitutional Law Professor father who had been active in the civil rights movement, and a mother who is now a state court judge. From an early age, she learned how to herd sheep, weed potatoes, be polite to people who she disagreed with, and never back down from a hard fight.
She believes that Trump’s Presidency poses an existential threat to our democracy, and we’ve got to fight it with every legal tool we have, including going after his business empire. Three days after Donald Trump took office, she was on the team of lawyers that filed Citizens for Responsibility in Ethics in Washington v. Trump (CREW) against Trump because of his violations of the Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution. After his election, she joined the Board of CREW, which has been at the forefront of investigating and bringing lawsuits against the Trump administration (she is currently on leave from the board because of this campaign).
Zephyr Teachout would make a splendid Attorney General of New York State. Progressive, practical, passionately committed to equal justice for all, dedicated to the rule of law, experienced, and brilliant to boot. Hard to ask for anything more.Laurence Tribe, Harvard Law Professor
Her book on the history of anti-corruption laws in the United States, Corruption in America, is widely recognized as a groundbreaking analysis on the subject. Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens cited her anti-corruption research in his dissent in Citizens United.
She believes that corruption is at the root of many of the problems we face: underfunded schools, overpriced rents, high debt, inequality, unaffordable health care, abuse of workers, environmental devastation.
She has been an independent voice calling out the corruption in Albany, speaking and writing about the trials of Sheldon Silver, Joseph Percoco, and Dean Skelos.
After the 2008 financial crisis, she co-founded an organization, A New Way Forward, bringing grassroots voices to work on financial reform laws, and calling for increased prosecutions of financial crimes. She is a national advocate for reviving old principles of antitrust, and recently testified in front of the Congressional Antitrust Caucus.
We’ve got to do justice, without fear or favor, and be unafraid to investigate wrongdoing, whether the wrongdoer is a health insurance company scamming citizens, your cable company, a big shot campaign donor, your landlord, or the President of the United States.Zephyr Teachout
She started her career representing people on death row, and co-founded an organization dedicated to training young lawyers in underfunded defense trial work. She believes that prosecutors must play a key role in criminal justice reform, and be leaders in the fight against mass incarceration, cash bail, and discriminatory policing: they must support discovery reform and speedy trials. As the former national director of the Sunlight Foundation, she knows the importance of transparency, and believes that the Attorney General should lead the fight for greater transparency in government, corporations, non-profits, and policing.
She received a BA from Yale and graduated summa cum laude from Duke Law School, where she was the Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review, and clerked for Chief Judge Edward R. Becker of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.