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US Department of Justice

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US Department of Justice

Department of Justice
Seal of the United States Department of Justice
Flag of the United States Department of Justice
Department overview
Formed July 1, 1870 (1870-07-01) (143 years ago)
Jurisdiction Federal government of the United States
Headquarters

Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C., United States
38°53′35.7″N 77°1′29.9″W / 38.893250°N 77.024972°W / 38.893250; -77.024972Coordinates: 38°53′35.7″N 77°1′29.9″W / 38.893250°N 77.024972°W / 38.893250; -77.024972

Motto "Qui Pro Domina Justitia Sequiter" (Latin: "Who Pursues For Lady Justice")[1]
Employees 113,543 (2012)
Annual budget $27.1 billion (2013) PDF
Department executives Eric Holder, Attorney General
James M. Cole, Deputy Attorney General
Website www.justice.gov

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ), also known as the Justice Department, is the U.S. federal executive department responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice, equivalent to the justice or interior ministries of other countries.

The Department is led by the Attorney General, who is nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate and is a member of the Cabinet. The current Attorney General is Eric Holder.

History

The Attorney General was initially a one-person, part-time job. It was 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.[2]

In 1869, 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.[3] The Department of Justice officially began operations on July 1, 1870.[2]

The "Act to Establish the Department of Justice" drastically increased the Attorney General's responsibilities to include the supervision of all United States Attorneys, formerly under the department of the interior, the prosecution of all federal crimes, and the representation of the United States in all court actions, barring the use of private attorneys by the federal government.[4] 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 1887, the federal government began to take on some law enforcement responsibilities, with the Department of Justice tasked to carry out these duties.[5]

In 1884, 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.[6]

In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order which conveyed, to the Department of Justice, the responsibility for the "functions of prosecuting in the courts of the United States claims and demands by, and offsenses [sic] against, the Government of the United States, and of defending claims and demands against the Government, and of supervising the work of United States attorneys, marshals, and clerks in connection therewith, now exercised by any agency or officer...." .”[7]

Headquarters

The U.S. Department of Justice 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."[8]


Organization

Leadership offices

Divisions

Law enforcement agencies

Several federal law enforcement agencies are administered by the Department of Justice:

Offices

Other offices and programs

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.

In 2003, the Department of Justice created LifeAndLiberty.gov, a website that supported the PATRIOT ACT. It was criticized by government watchdog groups.[9]

Finances and budget

The Justice Department was authorized a budget for Fiscal Year 2012 of $26.8 billion and was authorized 113,543 positions. The budget authorization is broken down as follows:[10]

Program Funding (in billions)
Administration $0.6
Law Enforcement $13.0
Litigation $3.3
Prisons $8.2
State and Local Assistance $2.1
Total $27.2

See also

Government of the United States portal


Notes and references

External links

  • Official website
  • Organization chart
  • RSS Feed
  • USDOJ Documents Post 9/11 Memos, OIG Reports ...
  • 4 Torture Memos Released 16Apr2009 in response to FOIA suit by ACLU.
  • Proposed and finalized federal regulations from the United States Department of Justice
  • Human Rights First; In Pursuit of Justice: Prosecuting Terrorism Cases in the Federal Courts (2009)
  • UIGEA.
  • The Washington Post


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