Seal of the Department
Flag of the Department
The Robert F. Kennedy Building is the headquarters of the 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||$28.3 billion (FY 2017)|
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 United States federal executive departments are the principal units of the executive branch of the federal government of the United States. They are analogous to ministries common in parliamentary or semi-presidential systems but they are led by a head of government who is also the head of state. The executive departments are the administrative arms of the President of the United States. There are currently 15 executive departments.
Law is a system of rules that are created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. It has been defined both as "the Science of Justice" and "the Art of Justice". Law is a system that regulates and ensures that individuals or a community adhere to the will of the state. State-enforced laws can be made by a collective legislature or by a single legislator, resulting in statutes, by the executive through decrees and regulations, or established by judges through precedent, normally in common law jurisdictions. Private individuals can create legally binding contracts, including arbitration agreements that may elect to accept alternative arbitration to the normal court process. The formation of laws themselves may be influenced by a constitution, written or tacit, and the rights encoded therein. The law shapes politics, economics, history and society in various ways and serves as a mediator of relations between people.
The administration of justice is the process by which the legal system of a government is executed. The presumed goal of such administration is to provide justice for all those accessing the legal system. The phrase is also used commonly to describe a University degree, which can be a prerequisite for a job in law enforcement or government.
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.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 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.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States, and its principal federal law enforcement agency. Operating under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Justice, the FBI is also a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community and reports to both the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. A leading U.S. counter-terrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal investigative organization, the FBI has jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes.
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 Thomas E. Brandon, Acting Director, and Ronald B. Turk, Acting Deputy Director. The ATF has 4,770 employees, and an annual budget of $1.15 billion (2012).
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 William Barr.
The United States Attorney General (A.G.) is the chief lawyer of the Federal Government of the United States, head of the United States Department of Justice per 28 U.S.C. § 503, and oversees all governmental legal affairs.
The President of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces.
Advice and consent is an English phrase frequently used in enacting formulae of bills and in other legal or constitutional contexts. It describes either of two situations: where a weak executive branch of a government enacts something previously approved of by the legislative branch or where the legislative branch concurs and approves something previously enacted by a strong executive branch.
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.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.
The Judiciary Act of 1789 was a United States federal statute adopted on September 24, 1789, in the first session of the First United States Congress. It established the federal judiciary of the United States. Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution prescribed that the "judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and such inferior Courts" as Congress saw fit to establish. It made no provision for the composition or procedures of any of the courts, leaving this to Congress to decide.
Bureaucracy refers to both a body of non-elective government officials and an administrative policy-making group. Historically, a bureaucracy was a government administration managed by departments staffed with non-elected officials. Today, bureaucracy is the administrative system governing any large institution, whether publicly owned or privately owned. The public administration in many countries is an example of a bureaucracy, but so is the centralized hierarchical structure of a business firm.
Following unsuccessful efforts (in 1830 and 1846) to make Attorney General a full-time job,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.
Ulysses S. Grant was an American soldier, politician, and international statesman who served as the 18th president of the United States from 1869 to 1877. During the American Civil War, General Grant, with President Abraham Lincoln, led the Union Army to victory over the Confederacy. During the Reconstruction Era, President Grant led the Republicans in their efforts to remove the vestiges of Confederate nationalism, racism, and slavery.
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.
Amos Tappan Akerman 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 Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. In Congress, it was passed by the Senate on April 8, 1864, and by the House on January 31, 1865. The amendment was ratified by the required number of states on December 6, 1865. On December 18, 1865, Secretary of State William H. Seward proclaimed its adoption. It was the first of the three Reconstruction Amendments adopted following the American Civil War.
The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted on July 9, 1868, as one of the Reconstruction Amendments. Arguably one of the most consequential amendments to this day, the amendment addresses citizenship rights and equal protection of the laws and was proposed in response to issues related to former slaves following the American Civil War. The amendment was bitterly contested, particularly by the states of the defeated Confederacy, which were forced to ratify it in order to regain representation in Congress. The amendment, particularly its first section, is one of the most litigated parts of the Constitution, forming the basis for landmark decisions such as Brown v. Board of Education (1954) regarding racial segregation, Roe v. Wade (1973) regarding abortion, Bush v. Gore (2000) regarding the 2000 presidential election, and Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) regarding same-sex marriage. The amendment limits the actions of all state and local officials, including those acting on behalf of such an official.
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 was authorized a budget for Fiscal Year 2015 of approximately $31 billion. 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|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to United States Department of Justice .|
The Department of the Treasury (USDT) is an executive department and the treasury of the United States federal government. Established by an Act of Congress in 1789 to manage government revenue, the Treasury prints all paper currency and mints all coins in circulation through the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the United States Mint, respectively; collects all federal taxes through the Internal Revenue Service; manages U.S. government debt instruments; licenses and supervises banks and thrift institutions; and advises the legislative and executive branches on matters of fiscal policy.
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, in the United States, is usually a criminal investigator or detective for a federal or state government, that primarily serves in investigatory positions. Additionally, many federal and state "Special Agents" operate in "criminal intelligence" based roles as well. Within the US 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.
The Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative (YCGII) was led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) during the late-1990s. The program aimed to increase firearm tracing of firearms recovered by law enforcement agencies, learn more about how juveniles and youth obtain firearms, and develop strategies to deal with problems involving illegally obtained firearms.
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 both a statewide investigative law enforcement agency and state legal department in the California executive branch under the elected leadership of the California Attorney General (AG) which carries out complex criminal & civil investigations, prosecutions, and other legal services throughout the state.
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).
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.
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.
"Gunwalking", or "letting guns walk", was a tactic of the Arizona Field Office of the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which ran a series of sting operations between 2006 and 2011 in the Tucson and Phoenix area where the ATF "purposely allowed licensed firearms dealers to sell weapons to illegal straw buyers, hoping to track the guns to Mexican drug cartel leaders and arrest them". These operations were done under the umbrella of Project Gunrunner, a project intended to stem the flow of firearms into Mexico by interdicting straw purchasers and gun traffickers within the United States. The Jacob Chambers Case began in October 2009 and eventually became known in February 2010 as "Operation Fast and Furious" after agents discovered Chambers and the other suspects under investigation belonged to a car club.
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.