Essay, Research Paper: Justice Department

Government

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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 enactment’s 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.

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