Justice Department It is the executive department of the United States federal government, created by Congress in 1870 to assume the functions performed until then by the Office of the Attorney General. The department is headed by the attorney general, which is appointed by the president with the approval of the Senate. The Attorney General is Janet Reno she receives 181, 500 a year. The functions of the department include providing means for the enforcement of federal laws and investigating violations thereof; supervising the federal penal institutions; furnishing legal counsel in cases involving the federal government and conducting all suits brought before the U.S. Supreme Court in which the federal government is concerned; interpreting laws relating to the activities of the other federal departments; and rendering legal advice, upon request, to the president and to cabinet members. The deputy attorney general and the associate attorney general assist the attorney general.
Another high-ranking official of the department is the solicitor general, who directs all U.S. government litigation in the Supreme Court and who is concerned generally with the conduct of the appellate litigation of the government. Assistant attorneys general head most of the divisions of the Justice Department. The functions of the department are carried out regionally by U.S. attorneys and U.S. marshals; one of each is appointed to the 94 federal judicial districts by the president, with the consent of the Senate.
The department includes the antitrust, civil, civil rights, criminal, environment and natural resources, and tax divisions, as well as administrative offices. The Antitrust Division is charged with the enforcement of the federal antitrust laws and related enactments against industrial and commercial monopolies; the most important of these laws are the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 and the Clayton Act of 1914. The Civil Division and its seven major branches supervise all matters relating to civil suits and claims involving the U.S. and its departments, agencies, and officers. Among the varied areas of litigation handled by the Civil Division are patents and copyrights, fraud, tort claims, customs and immigration, international trade, veterans’ affairs, and consumer affairs.
The Civil Rights Division is responsible for enforcing the Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1960, 1964, and 1968; the Voting Rights Act of 1965; the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974; the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1976; the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act of 1980; and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. In addition, it is charged with eliminating discrimination in programs that receive federal financial assistance. The Criminal Division is entrusted with enforcing federal criminal statutes relating to such matters as organized crime, kidnapping, bank robbery, fraud against the government, racketeering, obscenity, corruption among public officials, narcotics and dangerous drugs, and certain civil matters such as extradition proceedings and seizure actions under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act. The Internal Security Section of the division is charged with the investigation and prosecution of all cases affecting national security (including espionage and sabotage), foreign relations, and the illegal export of strategic commodities and technology. The Environment and Natural Resources Division represents the U.S.
in litigation involving public lands and natural resources, Native American lands and claims, wildlife resources, and environmental quality, including enforcement of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and similar federal laws and of regulations promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency. The Tax Division conducts all civil and criminal litigation arising out of the internal revenue laws, other than proceedings in the U.S. Tax Court. The Office of Policy and Communications oversees policy development, public affairs, and other administrative areas. Other agencies include the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which investigates violations of federal laws and collects evidence in cases in which the U.S. may be involved; the Bureau of Prisons; the U.S. Parole Commission, which has the authority to release federal prisoners before they complete their entire sentences; the Office of Justice Programs, which provides financial and technical assistance to state and local law enforcement, supports research into justice issues, and accumulates and disseminates criminal justice statistics; the U.S.
Marshals Service, which provides protection and other services for the federal courts and responds to emergency situations related to law enforcement; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Immigration and Naturalization Service; the Executive Office for Immigration Review; the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices; the U.S. National Central Bureau-International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol); and the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission. Special sections include the Community Relations Service, which mediates racial disputes in U.S. communities; the pardon attorney, who receives and investigates applications to the president for pardon or clemency; the U.S. Trustee program, which supervises the administration of bankruptcy cases and trustees; and the Executive Office for U.S.
Attorneys, which provides executive assistance to and oversight of the offices of U.S. attorneys throughout the nation.