Case Details



Filing State



Washington Supreme Court




Five Corners Family Farmers v. State, 173 Wn.2d 296, 308 (Wash. 2011)


Washington courts give some weight to attorney general opinions

Case Description

The Washington Supreme Court articulated three reasons for giving weight to attorney general opinions: First, such opinions represent the considered legal opinion of the constitutionally designated “legal adviser of the state officers.” Second, we presume that the legislature is aware of formal opinions issued by the attorney general and a failure to amend the statute in response to the formal opinion may, in appropriate circumstances, be treated as a form of legislative acquiescence in that interpretation. The weight of this factor increases over time and decreases where the opinion is inconsistent with previous formal opinions, administrative interpretations, or court opinions. Third, where the opinion is issued in close temporal proximity to the passage of the statute in question, it may shed light on the intent of the legislature, keeping in mind, of course, that the attorney general is a member of a separate branch of government