Protecting New Jersey in Court

Protecting New Jersey in Court

The Attorney General protects the rights of New Jersey’s residents by standing up to corporate polluters, financial fraudsters, discriminatory employers—and when necessary, the federal government. 

As the state’s chief lawyer, the Attorney General has a responsibility to hold accountable those who threaten the safety and well-being of New Jersey’s residents. One of the Attorney General’s tools for protecting the public is through “affirmative litigation,” an umbrella term for civil lawsuits against individuals and companies that violate the law in ways that affect the state’s communities. In addition, the Attorney General’s Office has been using its affirmative litigation powers to hold the federal government in check when it takes actions that violate the law and harm New Jersey residents.

Major Initiatives

  • Safeguarding the Garden State’s environmental resources. The Attorney General’s Office has reinvigorated its environmental enforcement program, bringing dozens of lawsuits against polluters since 2018. These cases range from major statewide actions against corporate polluters, including DuPont and Exxon, as well as “environmental justice” lawsuits against polluters who harm low-income and minority communities. At the same time, the Attorney General’s Office has fought the federal government’s efforts to roll back environmental protections, stopping the Department of Interior’s plans to allow oil drilling off New Jersey’s coast and challenging new rules on climate change, vehicle emissions, clean water, and more. In addition, the Attorney General’s Office has fought illegal efforts to build pipelines across environmentally sensitive lands in New Jersey.
  • Fighting for New Jersey consumers. As the federal government has worked to dismantle the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)—the federal agency tasked with protecting consumers from financial fraudsters—the Attorney General’s Office has acted swiftly to fill the void. These efforts include historic, multistate settlements against financial institutions, including Wells Fargo and UBS, as well as sweeping investigations to protect consumers’ online data privacy, including matters involving Facebook, Uber, and Equifax. Through the Division of Consumer Affairs, the Attorney General is building New Jersey’s own “state-level CFPB”—an agency that combines robust enforcement with consumer-friendly rulemaking to ensure that the state’s financial marketplace works for all of its residents.
  • Standing up for the civil rights of all New Jersey residents. Under Attorney General Grewal’s leadership, New Jersey has stepped up its efforts to protect populations that have historically faced bias and discrimination. The Division on Civil Rights (DCR), which is responsible for enforcing the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination – one of the strongest anti-discrimination laws in the country – has taken legal action against those who discriminate on the basis of race, gender, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other protected traits.
  • Defending the dignity of our immigrant communities. New Jersey has long been a destination for those seeking to build a new life in America, and the Attorney General’s Office has worked hard to make the state welcoming for people of all backgrounds. As part of this effort, the Office has pushed back against federal efforts to deny basic legal protections for immigrants, challenging policies that would (among other things) allow indefinite detention of immigrant children, terminate Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), place a citizenship question on the 2020 Census, separate families in detention, and construct a wall on the Southern border without Congressional approval.
  • Advocating for New Jersey’s homeowners. In 2017, the President signed a law eliminating homeowners’ ability to deduct more than $10,000 in state and local taxes on their federal income tax returns—a change in longstanding policy that disproportionately hurts New Jersey residents. The Attorney General’s Office has vigorously challenged this policy, including suing the IRS to prevent it from undermining New Jersey laws designed to protect residents from the effects of the cap.

Additional Resources

Affirmative Civil Enforcement Practice Group 
Civil Rights
Consumer Protection
Immigrants Rights

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