United States Department of Justice
Seal of the United States Department of Justice
Flag of the United States Department of Justice
The Robert F. Kennedy Building in August 2006. The building serves as the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Justice.
|Formed||July 1, 1870|
|Jurisdiction||Federal government of the United States|
|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||$27.1 billion (2013)|
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 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 Loretta Lynch.
The U.S. 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 Congressional advice-giving had stopped by 1819 on account of the workload involved. To supplement their salaries, which until March 3, 1853, were set by statute at less than the amounts paid to other members of the Cabinet, early Attorneys General, while in office, engaged in extensive private practice of law, often arguing cases before the courts in their private capacities, as attorneys for private (paying) litigants.
Following unsuccessful efforts (in 1830 and 1846) to put the Attorney General's Office on a full-time footing, 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. 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 first American Department of Justice was established by the Confederate States almost a full decade prior [Act of February 21, 1861, An Act to organize and establish an Executive Department to be known as the Department of Justice, Prov. C.S. Cong., Stat. I (1st Sess.), Chap. XII, 0 C.S. St. Lg. 33].
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 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.
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 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....".
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, 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.
- Office of the Attorney General
- Office of the Deputy Attorney General
- Office of the Associate Attorney General
- Office of the Solicitor General
(as formal 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
Law enforcement agencies
Several federal law enforcement agencies are administered by the Department of Justice:
- United States Marshals Service (USMS) - The office of U.S. Marshal was established by the Judiciary Act of 1789. The U.S. Marshals Service was established as a agency in 1969, and it was elevated to full bureau status under the Justice Department in 1974.
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) - On July 26, 1908, a small investigative force was created within the Justice Department under Attorney General Charles Bonaparte. The following year, this force was officially named the Bureau of Investigation by Attorney General George W. Wickersham. In 1935, the bureau adopted its current name.
- Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) - the Three Prisons Act of 1891 created the federal prison system. Congress created the Federal Bureau of Prisons in 1930 by Pub. L. No. 71–218, 46 Stat. 325, signed into law by President Hoover on May 14, 1930.
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) - Except for a brief period during Prohibition, ATF's predecessor bureaus were part of the Department of the Treasury for more than two hundred years. ATF was first established by Department of Treasury Order No. 221, effective July 1, 1972; this order "transferred the functions, powers, and duties arising under laws relating to alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives from the Internal Revenue Service to ATF. In 2003, under the terms of the Homeland Security Act, ATF was split into two agencies - the new Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) was transferred to the Department of Justice, while the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) was retained by the Department of the Treasury.
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
- Office of the Inspector General (OIG)
- 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 (OARM)
- Office of the Chief Information Officer
- Office of Dispute Resolution
- Office of the Federal Detention Trustee (OFDT)
- Office of Immigration Litigation
- Office of Information Policy
- Office of Intelligence Policy and Review (OIPR)
- Office of Intergovernmental and Public Liaison (merged with Office of Legislative Affairs on April 12, 2012)
- Office of Justice Programs (OJP)
- 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 Pardon Attorney
- Office of Privacy and Civil Liberties (OPCL)
- 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 (former)
- Obscenity Prosecution Task Force (former)
- 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.
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.
Finances and budget
|Program||Funding (in millions)|
|Management and Finance|
|Justice Information Sharing Technology||$26|
|Administrative Reviews and Appeals
|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|
Notes and references
- Revision of Original Letter Dated 14 February 1992, United States Department of Justice.
- Madan, Rafael (Fall 2008). "The Sign and Seal of Justice" (PDF). Ave Maria Law Review 7: 123, 191–192. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
- "United States Department of Justice: About DOJ".
- Madan, Rafael (Fall 2008). "The Sign and Seal of Justice" (PDF). Ave Maria Law Review 7: 123, 127–136. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
- Madan, Rafael (Fall 2008). "The Sign and Seal of Justice" (PDF). Ave Maria Law Review 7: 123, 132–134. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
- "Public Acts of the Forty First Congress".
- "Act to Establish the Department of Justice". Memory.loc.gov. Retrieved 2012-01-27.
- Langeluttig, Albert (1927). The Department of Justice of the United States. Johns Hopkins Press. pp. 9–14.
- Langeluttig, Albert (1927). The Department of Justice of the United States. Johns Hopkins Press. pp. 14–15.
- Executive Order 6166, Sec. 5 (June 12, 1933), at .
- Madan, Rafael (Fall 2008). "The Sign and Seal of Justice" (PDF). Ave Maria Law Review 7: 123, 125, 191–192, 203. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
- Madan, Rafael (Fall 2008). "The Sign and Seal of Justice" (PDF). Ave Maria Law Review 7: 123, 192–203. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
- "PRESIDENTIAL MEMORANDUM DIRECTS DESIGNATION OF MAIN JUSTICE BUILDING AS THE "ROBERT F. KENNEDY JUSTICE BUILDING"". U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
- History of the Antitrust Division, United States Department of Justice.
- Gregory C. Sisk & Michael F. Noone, Litigation with the Federal Government (4th ed.) (American Law Institute, 2006), pp. 10-11.
- Former Assistant Attorneys General: Civil Division, U.S. Department of Justice.
- 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.
- Organization, Mission and Functions Manual: Criminal Division, United States Department of Justice.
- Arnold W. Reitze, Air Pollution Control Law: Compliance and Enforcement (Environmental Law Institute, 2001), p. 571.
- Cornell W. Clayton, The Politics of Justice: The Attorney General and the Making of Legal Policy (M.E. Sharpe, Inc., 1992), p. 34.
- National Security Cultures: Patterns of Global Governance (Routledge, 2010; eds. Emil J. Kirchner & James Sperling), p. 195.
- Nancy Staudt, The Judicial Power of the Purse: How Courts Fund National Defense in Times of Crisis (University of Chicago Press, 2011), p. 34.
- Civilian Agency Records: Department of Justice Records, National Archived and Records Administration.
- Larry K. Gaines & Victor E. Kappeler, Policing in America (8th ed. 2015), pp. 38-39.
- United States Marshals Service Then ... and Now (Office of the Director, United States Marshals Service, U.S. Department of Justice, 1978).
- The FBI: A Comprehensive Reference Guide (Oryz Press, 1999, ed. Athan G. Theoharis), p. 102.
- Dean J. Champion, Sentencing: A Reference Handbook (ABC-CLIO, Inc.: 2008), pp. 22-23.
- James O. Windell, Looking Back in Crime: What Happened on This Date in Criminal Justice History? (CRC Press, 2015), p. 91.
- Transfer of ATF to U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
- Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Bureau, Federal Register.
- Malykhina, Elena (April 25, 2014). "Justice Department Names New CIO". Government. InformationWeek.
- Dotgovwatch.com, October 18, 2007
- 2015 Department of Justice Budget Authority by Appropriation, United States Department of Justice, Accessed 2015-07-13
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to United States Department of Justice.|
- Official website
- USDOJ in the Federal Register
- Organization chart
- USDOJ Documents Post 9/11 Memos, OIG Reports ...
- 4 Torture Memos Released 16Apr2009 in response to FOIA suit by ACLU.
- Human Rights First; In Pursuit of Justice: Prosecuting Terrorism Cases in the Federal Courts (2009)
- Justice.gov Indictment against internet poker using UIGEA.
- United States Department of Justice collected news and commentary at The Washington Post