Seal of the U.S. Department of Justice
Flag of the U.S. Department of Justice
The Robert F. Kennedy Building is the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Justice
|Formed||July 1, 1870|
|Jurisdiction||U.S. federal government|
|Headquarters|| Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building |
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C., United States
|Motto||"Qui Pro Domina Justitia Sequitur" (Latin: "Who prosecutes on behalf of justice (or the Lady Justice)"|
|Annual budget||$29.9 billion (FY 2019)|
The United States Department of Justice (DOJ), also known as the Justice Department, is a federal executive department of the United States government responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice in the United States, and is equivalent to the justice or interior ministries of other countries. The department was formed in 1870 during the Ulysses S. Grant administration, and administers several federal law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the United States Marshals Service (USMS), 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.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.
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. As of February 2019, the Attorney General is William Barr.
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; however, in 1819, the Attorney General began advising Congress alone to ensure a manageable workload.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.
Following unsuccessful efforts in 1830 and 1846 to make attorney general a full-time job,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 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.
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.
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.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. 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.
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.The law also created the office 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 took on some law enforcement responsibilities, and the Department of Justice tasked with performing these.
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.
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..."
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)".
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.The building was renamed in honor of former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy in 2001. It is sometimes referred to as "Main Justice".
(as formal division)
| Civil Division |
(originally called the Claims Division;
adopted current name on February 13, 1953)
|Civil Rights Division||1957|
| Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD)|
(originally called the Land and Natural Resources Division;
adopted current name in 1990)
| Justice Management Division (JMD)|
(originally called the Administrative Division;
adopted current name in 1985)
|National Security Division (NSD)||2007|
|War Division (defunct)||1942|
Several federal law enforcement agencies are administered by the Department of Justice:
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 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.The website has since been taken offline.
The Justice Department authorized the budget for 2015 United States federal budget. The budget authorization is broken down as follows:
|Program||Funding (in millions)|
|Management and Finance|
|Justice Information Sharing Technology||$26|
|Administrative Reviews and Appeals ||$351 |
|Office of the Inspector General||$89|
|United States Parole Commission||$13|
|National Security Division||$92|
|Office of the Solicitor General||$12|
|Environmental and Natural Resources Division||$112|
|Office of Legal Counsel||$7|
|Civil Rights 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|
|Office of Justice Programs||$1,427|
|Office of Community Oriented Policing Services||$248|
|Office on Violence Against Women||$410|
Amos Tappan Akerman was an American politician who served as United States Attorney General under President Ulysses S. Grant from 1870 to 1871. A native of New Hampshire, Akerman graduated from Dartmouth College in 1842 and moved South, where he had most of his career. He first worked as headmaster of a school in North Carolina and as a tutor in Georgia. Having become interested in law, Akerman studied and passed the bar in Georgia in 1850; where he and an associate set up a law practice. He also owned a farm and eleven slaves. When the Civil War started in 1861, Akerman joined the Confederate Army, where he achieved the rank of colonel.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is a federal law enforcement organization within the United States Department of Justice. Its responsibilities include the investigation and prevention of federal offenses involving the unlawful use, manufacture, and possession of firearms and explosives; acts of arson and bombings; and illegal trafficking and tax evasion of alcohol and tobacco products. The ATF also regulates via licensing the sale, possession, and transportation of firearms, ammunition, and explosives in interstate commerce. Many of the ATF's activities are carried out in conjunction with task forces made up of state and local law enforcement officers, such as Project Safe Neighborhoods. The ATF operates a unique fire research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, where full-scale mock-ups of criminal arson can be reconstructed. The agency is led by Regina Lombardo, Acting Director, and Ronald B. Turk, Acting Deputy Director. The ATF has 5,101 employees and an annual budget of $1.274 billion (2019).
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, statutorily named the Tax and Trade Bureau and frequently shortened to TTB, is a bureau of the United States Department of the Treasury, which regulates and collects taxes on trade and imports of alcohol, tobacco, and firearms within the United States.
A special agent is an investigator or detective for a governmental or independent agency, who primarily serves in criminal investigatory positions. Additionally, many federal and state "special agents" operate in "criminal intelligence" based roles as well. Within the U.S. federal law enforcement system, dozens of federal agencies employ federal law enforcement officers, each with different criteria pertaining to the use of the titles Special Agent and Agent.
In the United States, a gun show is an event where promoters generally rent large public venues and then rent tables for display areas for dealers of guns and related items, and charge admission for buyers. The majority of guns for sale at gun shows are modern sporting firearms. Approximately 5,000 gun shows occur annually in the United States.
The Bureau of Prohibition was the federal law enforcement agency formed to enforce the National Prohibition Act of 1919, commonly known as the Volstead Act, which elaborated upon the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution regarding the prohibition of the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages. When it was first established in 1920, it was a unit of the Bureau of Internal Revenue. On April 1, 1927, it became an independent entity within the Department of the Treasury, changing its name from the Prohibition Unit to the Bureau of Prohibition. In 1930, it became part of the Department of Justice. By 1933, with the Repeal of Prohibition imminent, it was briefly absorbed into the FBI, or "Bureau of Investigation" as it was then called, and became the Bureau's "Alcohol Beverage Unit," though, for practical purposes it continued to operate as a separate agency. Very shortly after that, once Repeal became a reality, and the only federal laws regarding alcoholic beverages being their taxation, it was switched back to Treasury, where it was renamed the Alcohol Tax Unit.
A Federal Firearms License (FFL) is a license in the United States that enables an individual or a company to engage in a business pertaining to the manufacture or importation of firearms and ammunition, or the interstate and intrastate sale of firearms. Holding an FFL to engage in certain such activities has been a legal requirement within the United States since the enactment of the Gun Control Act of 1968. The FFL is issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
Carl Joseph Truscott is a security expert and was the sixth Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in the United States Department of Justice under George W. Bush, a position he held from 2004 to 2006.
Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP) is, per the United States Office of Personnel Management, a type of premium pay that is paid to Federal law enforcement officers who are classified as GS-1811, criminal investigator or special agent. Due to the nature of their work, criminal investigators are required to work, or be available to work, substantial amounts of "unscheduled duty." Availability pay is generally an entitlement that an agency must provide if the required conditions are met, but is optional in any agency's Office of the Inspector General that may employ fewer than five criminal investigators.
The federal government of the United States empowers a wide range of law enforcement agencies to maintain law and public order related to matters affecting the country as a whole.
In the United States, a federal crime or federal offense is an act that is made illegal by U.S. federal legislation. Prosecution happens at both the federal and the state levels and so a "federal crime" is one that is prosecuted under federal criminal law and not under state criminal law under which most of the crimes committed in the United States are prosecuted.
The California Department of Justice is a statewide investigative law enforcement agency and legal department of the California executive branch under the elected leadership of the California Attorney General (AG) which carries out complex criminal and civil investigations, prosecutions, and other legal services throughout the US state of California. The Department is equivalent to the State Bureau of Investigation in other states.
Violent Crime Impact Teams (VCIT) in the United States work proactively to identify, disrupt, arrest and prosecute the most violent criminals through innovative technology, analytical investigative resources and an integrated federal, state and local law enforcement strategy along with the leading federal law enforcement agency for the VCIT, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Project Gunrunner is a project of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) intended to stem the flow of firearms into Mexico, in an attempt to deprive the Mexican drug cartels of weapons.
Bradley A. Buckles was sworn in as the fifth Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) on December 20, 1999 by Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence Summers. He previously served as Deputy Director under ATF Director John Magaw from 1996-1999. He began his service with ATF in 1974 when he joined the ATF Office of Chief Counsel. He was named Chief Counsel of ATF in 1995.
Gretchen C. F. Shappert was United States Attorney for the western district of North Carolina from 2004-2009.
eTrace is an Internet-based firearm trace request submission system, developed by the United States' federal government, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, that provides for the electronic exchange of traced firearm data in a secure internet-based environment. Participating law enforcement agencies with access to the internet can acquire 24/7 real-time capabilities to electronically submit firearm trace requests, monitor the progress of traces, retrieve completed trace results, and to query firearm trace related data in Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) firearms registration database at the National Tracing Center. Firearms tracing is the systematic tracking of the movement of a firearm from its creation by the manufacturer or its introduction into U.S. commerce by the importer, through the distribution chain to the first retail purchase. Release 4.0, a bilingual version of eTrace was deployed in December, 2009 for the benefit of Spanish-speaking countries.
The National Tracing Center (NTC) of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is the sole firearms tracing facility in the United States. It provides information to provide foreign (international), federal, state and local law enforcement agencies with suspects for firearm crime investigations, detect suspected firearms traffickers, and track the intrastate, interstate and international movement of firearms. Congressional restrictions are in place to prevent the release of firearms trace information to anyone other than law enforcement agencies, however, this restriction does not apply to participating foreign countries or agencies. The only restriction is by Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the agency receiving ATF's eTrace software.
The U.S. Bomb Data Center serves as a nationwide collection center for information regarding arson and explosives related events throughout the United States. The Center was established in 1996 as a result of a congressional mandate and utilizes information from various government organizations such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and the United States Fire Administration.
Kenneth E. Melson is the former acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in the United States. He was appointed to this post by Attorney General Eric Holder in 2009. He resigned as head of the ATF in the aftermath of the ATF gunwalking scandal and was replaced by B. Todd Jones, a former Marine who has twice served as the U.S. attorney in Minnesota.
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