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May 5, 2008

Wikipedia: United States Department of Justice

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Department of Justice
Department of Justice
Agency overview
Formed June 22, 1870
July 1, 1870
Jurisdiction Federal government of the United States
Headquarters Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building
Washington, D.C.
Employees 112,500+ (2005)
Annual Budget $43.5 billion (2007)
Agency Executives Michael Mukasey, Attorney General

Craig S. Morford (Acting), Deputy Attorney General

Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building, Washington, D.C.

Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building, Washington, D.C.

For animal rights group, see Justice Department (JD)

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) is a Cabinet department in the United States government designed to enforce the law and defend the interests of the United States according to the law and to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans (see 28 U.S.C. § 501). The DOJ is administered by the United States Attorney General (see 28 U.S.C. § 503), one of the original members of the cabinet.



  1. Responsible for investigating and prosecuting violations of federal laws.
  2. Represents the United States in all legal matters, including cases before the Supreme Court.
  3. Enforces all immigration laws, provides information, and processes applications for citizenship
  4. Maintains the federal prison system, halfway houses, and community programs.


The Attorney General was initially a one-person, part-time job, established by the Judiciary Act of 1789, but this grew with the bureaucracy. At one time the Attorney General gave legal advice to the U.S. Congress as well as the President, but this had stopped by 1819 on account of the workload involved.

In 1867, the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary, led by Congressman William Lawrence, conducted an inquiry into the creation of a “law department” headed by the Attorney General and composed of the various department solicitors and United States Attorneys. On February 19, 1868, Lawrence introduced a bill in Congress to create the Department of Justice. This first bill was unsuccessful, however, as Lawrence could not devote enough time to ensure its passage owing to his occupation with the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson.

A second bill was introduced to Congress by Rhode Island Representative Thomas Jenckes on February 25, 1870, and both the Senate and House passed the bill. President Ulysses S. Grant then signed the bill into law on June 22, 1870. The Department of Justice officially began operations on July 1, 1870.

The bill, called the “Act to Establish the Department of Justice”, did little to change the Attorney General’s responsibilities, and his salary and tenure remained the same. The law did create a new office, that of Solicitor General, to supervise and conduct government litigation in the Supreme Court of the United States.

With the passage of the Interstate Commerce Act in 1870, the Federal government in the U.S. began to take on some law enforcement responsibilities, with the Department of Justice tasked to carry out these duties.[1]

In 1872, control of federal prisons was transferred to the new department, from the Department of Interior. New facilities were built, including the penitentiary at Leavenworth in 1895, and a facility for women located in West Virginia, at Alderson was established in 1924.[2]


The building was completed in 1935 from a design by Milton Bennett Medary. Upon Medary’s death in 1929, the other partners of his Philadelphia firm Zantzinger, Borie and Medary took over the project. On a lot bordered by Constitution and Pennsylvania Avenues and Ninth and Tenth Streets, Northwest, it holds over one million square feet of space. The sculptor C. Paul Jennewein served as overall design consultant for the entire building, contributing more than 50 separate sculptural elements inside and outside.

Various efforts, none entirely successful, have been made to determine the meaning of the Latin motto appearing on the Department of Justice seal, Qui Pro Domina Justitia Sequitur. It is not even known exactly when the original version of the DOJ seal itself was adopted, or when the motto first appeared on the seal. The most authoritative opinion of the DOJ suggests that the motto refers to the Attorney General (and thus to the Department of Justice) “who prosecutes on behalf of justice (or the Lady Justice)”.

The building was renamed in honor of former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy in 2001. It is sometimes referred to as “Main Justice.”[3]


Leadership offices

  • Office of the Attorney General
  • Office of the Deputy Attorney General
  • Office of the Associate Attorney General
  • Office of the Solicitor General


  • Antitrust Division
  • Civil Division
  • Civil Rights Division
  • Criminal Division
  • Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD)
  • Justice Management Division (JMD)
  • National Security Division (NSD)
  • Tax Division

Law Enforcement Agencies

  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE)
  • Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
  • Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP)
    • National Institute of Corrections
  • United States Marshals Service (USMS)


  • Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR)
  • Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA)
  • Executive Office of the United States Trustee (EOUST)
  • Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management
  • Office of the Chief Information Officer
  • Office of Dispute Resolution
  • Office of the Federal Detention Trustee (OFDT)
  • Office of Information and Privacy
  • Office of the Inspector General (OIG)
  • Office of Intelligence Policy and Review (OIPR)
  • Office of Intergovernmental and Public Liaison
  • Office of Justice Programs (OJP)
    • Bureau of Justice Assistance
    • Bureau of Justice Statistics
    • Community Capacity Development Office
    • National Institute of Justice
    • Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
    • Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking Office (SMART)
    • Office for Victims of Crime
  • Office of the Police Corps and Law Enforcement Education
  • Office of Legal Counsel (OLC)
  • Office of Legal Policy (OLP)
  • Office of Legislative Affairs
  • Office of the Ombudsperson
  • Office of the Pardon Attorney
  • Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR)
  • Office of Public Affairs
  • Office on Sexual Violence and Crimes against Children
  • Office of Tribal Justice
  • Office on Violence Against Women
  • Professional Responsibility Advisory Office (PRAO)
  • United States Attorneys Offices
  • United States Trustees Offices
  • Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS)
  • Community Relations Service

Other offices and programs

  • Foreign Claims Settlement Commission of the United States
  • INTERPOL, U.S. National Central Bureau
  • National Drug Intelligence Center
  • United States Parole Commission

In March 2003, the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service was abolished and its functions transferred to the United States Department of Homeland Security. The Executive Office for Immigration Review and the Board of Immigration Appeals which review decisions made by government officials under Immigration and Nationality law remain under jurisdiction of the Department of Justice. Similarly the Office of Domestic Preparedness left the Justice Department for the Department of Homeland Security, but only for executive purposes. The Office of Domestic Preparedness is still centralized within the Department of Justice, since its personnel are still officially employed within the Department of Justice.

Also in 2003, the Department of Justice created the website which supported the PATRIOT ACT.[4] currently promotes reenacting the PROTECT AMERICA ACT before it expires. This web site has received criticism from government watchdog groups.[5]

Corruption, Dissent, and Criticism

Current and former U.S. attorneys are known to have engaged in a wide variety of criminal conduct including association with prostitution rings[6], sexual battery[7] , sexual abuse of children[8], failures to make mandatory conflict of interest disclosures[9]. A separate Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) within the DOJ is responsible for investigating attorney employees of the DOJ who have been accused of misconduct or criminal activity with respect to their professional functions as DOJ attorneys. An additional danger is that U.S. Attorneys may be affected by the temptations of corruption with respect to their abuse of prosecutorial discretion to favor past or prospective law firm partners. Huge financial windfalls often await DOJ attorneys upon their move into a private practice partnership, referred to as the revolving door of government regulation. This inherent conflict of interest exists with all U.S. Attorneys as their Federal Jobs are not lifetime appointments and often involved shifts into private practice partnerships among the same law firms which they were charged with regulating as public law enforcement prosecutors. While connections between the intent of organized crime in their employment of DOJ alumni can be difficult to prove and rarely prosecution, the issue of a significant undetected and unprosecuted component of U.S. government officials was directly candidly admitted by the DOJ through public statements of their own senior law enforcement official, the former U.S. Attorney General John D. Ashcroft:

“In the real world of limited resources, we know that we can only detect, investigate and prosecute a small percentage of those officials who are corrupt.”[10]

“I remain convinced that there is no more important area in the fight against corruption than the challenge for us within the law enforcement and justice sectors to keep our own houses clean.” [11]

See also

  • United States Assistant Attorney General
This text comes from Wikipedia. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikipedia.

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