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United States Department of Justice

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

United States Department of Justice
Seal of the United States Department of Justice.svg
Seal of the Department
Flag of the United States Department of Justice.svg
Flag of the Department
U.S. Department of Justice headquarters, August 12, 2006.jpg

The Robert F. Kennedy Building is the headquarters of the Department of Justice
Agency overview
FormedJuly 1, 1870; 148 years ago (1870-07-01)
TypeExecutive department
JurisdictionU.S. federal government
HeadquartersRobert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C., United States
38°53′36″N 77°1′30″W / 38.89333°N 77.02500°W / 38.89333; -77.02500
Motto"Qui Pro Domina Justitia Sequitur" (Latin: "Who prosecutes on behalf of justice (or the Lady Justice)"[1][2]
Employees113,543 (2012)
Annual budget$31 billion (2015)
Agency executives

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ), also known as the Justice Department, is a federal executive department of the U.S. government, responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice in the United States, equivalent to the justice or interior ministries of other countries. The department was formed in 1870 during the Ulysses S. Grant administration.

The Department of Justice administers several federal law enforcement agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The department is responsible for investigating instances of financial fraud, representing the United States government in legal matters (such as in cases before the Supreme Court), and running the federal prison system.[3][4] The department is also responsible for reviewing the conduct of local law enforcement as directed by the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.[5]

The department is headed by the United States 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 Matthew Whitaker (Acting).

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ Thomas J. Perrelli, Associate Attorney General of the U.S. Department of Justice


Well, thank you, Barney, so much, for your introduction and for your leadership. It was indeed my great good fortune to get to speak with Barney and ultimately to offer him the position to the head of the COPS Office--a choice made by your keynote speaker here later today. And we are extraordinarily fortunate that Barney and his wife decided to come to Washington and take on the challenge of heading the COPS Office. Having had the opportunity to work with him for nearly two years, I know that the office could not be in better hands. I’d like to thank both Barney, but also the entirety of the COPS Office, all the folks who work tirelessly every day, both to ensure that federal money gets spent wisely, but also to make certain that critical information is in the hands of our law enforcement officers all across the country when they need it. I’d also like to thank all the members of the audience--all of the law enforcement officers and public safety professionals--for doing what you do every day. For helping to protect our children, for keeping our streets safe, and for protecting the United States from threats foreign and domestic. We can never say enough times that no matter how much we invest in crime fighting, no matter how much we invest in counterterrorism efforts at the federal level, it all starts with you. And it’s an honor to be here today speaking to you and introducing our keynote speaker. It’s also an honor to commemorate a great friend and dedicated public servant, Tony Sutin, who would be proud to see all that the COPS program has become--the COPS program that he helped found. I’ll speak only a couple minutes, because I’m really here to introduce someone else. But given the title of this conference, “Advancing Public Safety in the New Economy,” and all that has gone on in this town over the last few weeks, I wanted to say a few words about the COPS Office and its role in a new economy. And first I want to give voice to something that everyone in the COPS Office has probably been feeling over the past few years. It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster. After its inception in the Crime Bill of 1994 and years of very substantial funds that led to hiring thousands and thousands of police officers in an era where the COPS Office was instrumental not only in that hiring, but also in developing policies to bring the crime rate down all across the country, there were a number of lean years of only modest funding. Throughout that, however, the Office has remained an important player in the landscape of public safety, generating thousands of publications on new techniques in policing and best practices, gathering the knowledge developed by all of you on a daily basis and disseminating it throughout the country. Everywhere I go, I hear from police chiefs and line police officers that the COPS publications are the gold standard, both because of their reliability and because they are written to communicate practical information to the field. Now after those lean years, in 2009, as Barney said when I came to the Department, we had the Recovery Act and COPS found itself facing the daunting but welcome challenge of disseminating $1 billion in hiring funds in a few short months. That was my first exposure to the COPS Office after being away from the Department for about eight years. And I can speak personally about what an extraordinary job they did in disseminating that hiring funding as quickly as possible to communities all across the country. Over the last couple of years, we’ve had more important funding, albeit less than we believed was necessary, and today we recognize that the COPS Office and many other offices are looking at the reduced expectations that may come with our current budget situation. Now I know these ups and downs have not been easy to weather, but they do lead to my second point. And that is that as this conference shows, in this environment, the COPS Office has never been more relevant and never been more important. At a time when police forces need information they can rely on without having to invest time and resources to hunt down the best training or the best practices for meeting a new challenge, the COPS Office is of critical importance. At a time when shrinking budgets will require police forces to do more with less, the COPS Office is of critical importance, not just for the hiring dollars that it disseminates, but also because it can, as it always has been, a leader in helping promote what works. In this environment, we simply can’t be spending money on what doesn’t work. And at a time when fewer resources mean state, local, and tribal law enforcement must collaborate more with its traditional partners and with new partners to get the job done, the COPS Office is of critical importance. Community policing is, after all, collaboration and problem solving. And never have those things been more important as we try to make the country safer without new resources. Never have innovative and effective police techniques been more important. And, in short, never has community policing been more important. I believe the COPS Office can and will be a leader as police forces face the challenges--the new challenges--of the new economy. It’s now my great pleasure to introduce our keynote speaker today. I won’t go through his bio, which I think many of you know, but I can say, having seen it up close and personal every day for more than two years, there is no stronger supporter of the men and women who patrol our streets than Eric Holder. He has fought and fought for you on issues as critical and esoteric as spectrum and as fundamental and personal as the safety of our law enforcement professionals. When he came into office in 2009, one of the first things he did was bring state, local, and tribal law enforcement officials back to the Department of Justice to revive partnerships that are essential to protecting the public most effectively. And he reminds all of us at the Department on a regular basis that we will only do our jobs well if we are good partners, if we collaborate effectively with our state, local, and tribal partners.



The office of the Attorney General was established by the Judiciary Act of 1789 as a part-time job for one person, but grew with the bureaucracy. At one time, the Attorney General gave legal advice to the U.S. Congress as well as the President, but in 1819 the Attorney General began advising Congress alone to ensure a manageable workload.[6] Until March 3, 1853, the salary of the Attorney General was set by statute at less than the amount paid to other Cabinet members. Early Attorneys General supplemented their salaries by running private law practices, often arguing cases before the courts as attorneys for paying litigants.[7]

Following unsuccessful efforts (in 1830 and 1846) to make Attorney General a full-time job,[8] 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 also 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. President Ulysses S. Grant signed the bill into law on June 22, 1870.[9]

Grant appointed Amos T. Akerman as Attorney General and Benjamin H. Bristow as America's first Solicitor General the same week that Congress created the Department of Justice. The Department's immediate function was to preserve civil rights. It set about fighting against domestic terrorist groups who had been using both violence and litigation to oppose the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution.[10]

Both Akerman and Bristow used the Department of Justice to vigorously prosecute Ku Klux Klan members in the early 1870s. In the first few years of Grant's first term in office there were 1000 indictments against Klan members with over 550 convictions from the Department of Justice. By 1871, there were 3000 indictments and 600 convictions with most only serving brief sentences while the ringleaders were imprisoned for up to five years in the federal penitentiary in Albany, New York. The result was a dramatic decrease in violence in the South. Akerman gave credit to Grant and told a friend that no one was "better" or "stronger" than Grant when it came to prosecuting terrorists.[11] George H. Williams, who succeeded Akerman in December 1871, continued to prosecute the Klan throughout 1872 until the spring of 1873 during Grant's second term in office.[12] Williams then placed a moratorium on Klan prosecutions partially because the Justice Department, inundated by cases involving the Klan, did not have the manpower to continue prosecutions.[12]

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.[13] The law also created the office of Solicitor General to supervise and conduct government litigation in the Supreme Court of the United States.[14]

With the passage of the Interstate Commerce Act in 1887, the federal government took on some law enforcement responsibilities, and the Department of Justice tasked with performing these.[15]

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.[16]

In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order which gave the Department of Justice 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..."[17]


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 1,000,000 square feet (93,000 m2) 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.[citation needed]

Various efforts, none entirely successful, have been made to determine the original intended meaning of the Latin motto appearing on the Department of Justice seal, Qui Pro Domina Justitia Sequitur (literally "Who For Lady Justice Strives"). 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, by extension, to the Department of Justice) "who prosecutes on behalf of justice (or the Lady Justice)".[18]

The motto's conception of the prosecutor (or government attorney) as being the servant of justice itself finds concrete expression in a similarly-ordered English-language inscription ("THE UNITED STATES WINS ITS POINT WHENEVER JUSTICE IS DONE ITS CITIZENS IN THE COURTS") in the above-door paneling in the ceremonial rotunda anteroom just outside the Attorney General's office in the Department of Justice Main Building in Washington, D.C.[19] The building was renamed in honor of former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy in 2001. It is sometimes referred to as "Main Justice".[20]


Organizational chart for the Dept. of Justice. (Click to enlarge)
Organizational chart for the Dept. of Justice. (Click to enlarge)

Leadership offices


Division Date Established
(as formal division)
Antitrust Division 1933[21]
Civil Division
(originally called the Claims Division;
adopted current name on February 13, 1953)[22][23]
Civil Rights Division 1957[24]
Criminal Division 1919[25]
Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD)
(originally called the Land and Natural Resources Division;
adopted current name in 1990)[26]
Justice Management Division (JMD)
(originally called the Administrative Division;
adopted current name in 1985)[27]
National Security Division (NSD) 2007[28]
Tax Division 1933[29]
War Division (defunct) 1942
(disestablished 1945)[30]

Law enforcement agencies

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


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, a website that supported the USA PATRIOT Act. It was criticized by government watchdog groups for its alleged violation of U.S. Code Title 18 Section 1913, which forbids money appropriated by Congress to be used to lobby in favor of any law, actual or proposed.[40] The website has since been taken offline.

Finances and budget

The Justice Department was authorized a budget for Fiscal Year 2015 of approximately $31 billion. The budget authorization is broken down as follows:[41]

Program Funding (in millions)
Management and Finance
General Administration $129
Justice Information Sharing Technology $26
Administrative Reviews and Appeals
Executive Office for Immigration Review
Office of the Pardon Attorney
Office of the Inspector General $89
United States Parole Commission $13
National Security Division $92
Legal Activities
Office of the Solicitor General $12
Tax Division $109
Criminal Division $202
Civil Division $298
Environmental and Natural Resources Division $112
Office of Legal Counsel $7
Civil Rights Division $162
Antitrust Division $162
United States Attorneys $1,955
United States Bankruptcy Trustees $226
Law Enforcement Activities
United States Marshals Service $2,668
Federal Bureau of Investigation $8,347
Drug Enforcement Administration $2,018
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives $1,201
Federal Bureau of Prisons $6,894
Interpol-Washington Office $32
Grant Programs
Office of Justice Programs $1,427
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services $248
Office on Violence Against Women $410
Mandatory Spending
Mandatory Spending $4,011
TOTAL $31,201

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Revision of Original Letter Dated 14 February 1992, United States Department of Justice.
  2. ^ Madan, Rafael (Fall 2008). "The Sign and Seal of Justice" (PDF). Ave Maria Law Review. 7: 123, 191–192. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  3. ^ "Fraud Section (FRD) | Department of Justice". Retrieved February 4, 2017.
  4. ^ "Organization, Mission & Functions Manual: Attorney General, Deputy and Associate  | DOJ | Department of Justice". Retrieved February 4, 2017.
  5. ^ "Conduct of Law Enforcement Agencies | CRT | Department of Justice". Retrieved February 4, 2017.
  6. ^ "United States Department of Justice: About DOJ".
  7. ^ Madan, Rafael (Fall 2008). "The Sign and Seal of Justice" (PDF). Ave Maria Law Review. 7: 123, 127–136. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  8. ^ Madan, Rafael (Fall 2008). "The Sign and Seal of Justice" (PDF). Ave Maria Law Review. 7: 123, 132–134. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  9. ^ "Public Acts of the Forty First Congress".
  10. ^ Chernow, Ron (2017). Grant. Penguin Press. p. 700.
  11. ^ Smith 2001, pp. 542–547.
  12. ^ a b Williams (1996), The Great South Carolina Ku Klux Klan Trials, 1871–1872, p. 123
  13. ^ "Act to Establish the Department of Justice". Retrieved January 27, 2012.
  14. ^ "About DOJ – DOJ – Department of Justice".
  15. ^ Langeluttig, Albert (1927). The Department of Justice of the United States. Johns Hopkins Press. pp. 9–14.
  16. ^ Langeluttig, Albert (1927). The Department of Justice of the United States. Johns Hopkins Press. pp. 14–15.
  17. ^ Executive Order 6166, Sec. 5 (June 12, 1933), at [1].
  18. ^ Madan, Rafael (Fall 2008). "The Sign and Seal of Justice" (PDF). Ave Maria Law Review. 7: 123, 125, 191–192, 203. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  19. ^ Madan, Rafael (Fall 2008). "The Sign and Seal of Justice" (PDF). Ave Maria Law Review. 7: 123, 192–203. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  21. ^ History of the Antitrust Division, United States Department of Justice.
  22. ^ a b Gregory C. Sisk & Michael F. Noone, Litigation with the Federal Government (4th ed.) (American Law Institute, 2006), pp. 10–11.
  23. ^ Former Assistant Attorneys General: Civil Division, U.S. Department of Justice.
  24. ^ Kevin Alonso & R. Bruce Anderson, "Civil Rights Legislation and Policy" in Postwar America: An Encyclopedia of Social, Political, Cultural, and Economic History (2006, ed. James Ciment), p .233.
  25. ^ Organization, Mission and Functions Manual: Criminal Division, United States Department of Justice.
  26. ^ a b Arnold W. Reitze, Air Pollution Control Law: Compliance and Enforcement (Environmental Law Institute, 2001), p. 571.
  27. ^ a b Cornell W. Clayton, The Politics of Justice: The Attorney General and the Making of Legal Policy (M.E. Sharpe, Inc., 1992), p. 34.
  28. ^ National Security Cultures: Patterns of Global Governance (Routledge, 2010; eds. Emil J. Kirchner & James Sperling), p. 195.
  29. ^ Nancy Staudt, The Judicial Power of the Purse: How Courts Fund National Defense in Times of Crisis (University of Chicago Press, 2011), p. 34.
  30. ^ Civilian Agency Records: Department of Justice Records, National Archived and Records Administration.
  31. ^ Larry K. Gaines & Victor E. Kappeler, Policing in America (8th ed. 2015), pp. 38–39.
  32. ^ United States Marshals Service Then … and Now (Office of the Director, United States Marshals Service, U.S. Department of Justice, 1978).
  33. ^ The FBI: A Comprehensive Reference Guide (Oryz Press, 1999, ed. Athan G. Theoharis), p. 102.
  34. ^ Mitchel P. Roth, Prisons and Prison Systems: A Global Encyclopedia (Greenwood, 2006), pp. 278–79.
  35. ^ Dean J. Champion, Sentencing: A Reference Handbook (ABC-CLIO, Inc.: 2008), pp. 22–23.
  36. ^ James O. Windell, Looking Back in Crime: What Happened on This Date in Criminal Justice History? (CRC Press, 2015), p. 91.
  37. ^ a b Transfer of ATF to U.S. Department of Justice[permanent dead link], Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
  38. ^ Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Bureau, Federal Register.
  39. ^ a b Malykhina, Elena (April 25, 2014). "Justice Department Names New CIO". Government. InformationWeek.
  40. ^, October 18, 2007
  41. ^ 2015 Department of Justice Budget Authority by Appropriation, United States Department of Justice, Accessed July 13, 2015

External links

This page was last edited on 14 January 2019, at 17:02
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