Department of Justice

 Department of Justice in the United States

Introduction to Department of Justice

Department of Justice, 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, who is appointed by the president of the United States with the approval of the Senate and who is a member of the Cabinet.” (1)

The Department of Justice serves as counsel for the citizens of the United States. It
represents them in enforcing the law in the public interest. Through its thousands of
lawyers, investigators, and agents, the Department plays the key role in protection
against criminals and subversion, ensuring healthy business competition, safeguarding
the consumer, and enforcing drug, immigration, and naturalization laws.

The Department of Justice was established by act of June 22, 1870 (28
U.S.C. 501, 503, 509 note), with the Attorney General as its head. The affairs
and activities of the Department of Justice are generally directed by the Attorney

Legal Materials

The DOJ Web site ( posts the U.S. Attorney’s Manual, briefs, advisory letters, regulations, reports, and much more. Especially useful are the pages for the individual Divisions. You can link to these pages from the DOJ Organizational Chart.

Government Attic archives DOJ documents obtained with FOIA requests.

Reported Opinions of the Office of Legal Counsel (“Op. Off. Legal Counsel”) are searchable on Lexis (GENFED;USAG) and Westlaw (USAG) from 1977 (Volume 1) to present, and on Hein Online from 1977 to 2002.

Antitrust: The Antitrust Division enforces and explains U.S. atitrus laws. The Division posts selected case filings (1994-present), appellate briefs, Business Review Letters, etc.

In addition, the CCH Trade Regulation Reporter publishes certain Antitrust Division materials, including consent orders and summaries of “complaints, indictments and developments.”

For additional materials, call the Antitrust Division’s Document Group (202-514-2481).

Immigration and Naturalization Service: The INS was a division of the DOJ that handled immigration. The INS was replaced by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a bureau of the Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003 (per the The Homeland Security Act of 2002, P.L. 107â?”296, 116 Stat. 2135). See the Immigration entry in this legal Encyclopedia for more information.


Attorney General

The Attorney General represents the United States in legal matters generally and gives advice and opinions to the President and to the heads of the executive departments of the Government when so requested. The Attorney General appears in person to represent the Government before the U.S. Supreme Court in cases of exceptional gravity or importance.

Community Relations Service

The Service offers assistance to communities in resolving disputes relating to race,
color, or national origin and facilitates the development of viable agreements
as alternatives to coercion, violence, or litigation. It also assists and supports
communities in developing local mechanisms as proactive measures to
prevent or reduce racial/ethnic tensions.

For a complete list of Community Relations Service Regional Offices, visit

For further information, contact any regional of?ce or the Director, Community Relations Service, Department of Justice.

Pardon Attorney

The Office of the Pardon Attorney assists the President in the exercise of his pardon power under the Constitution. Generally, all requests for pardon or other forms of executive clemency, including commutation of sentences, are directed to the Pardon Attorney for investigation and review.

The Pardon Attorney prepares the Department’s recommendation to the
President for ?nal disposition of each application.

For further information, contact the Office of the Pardon Attorney, Department of Justice. The Internet address is

Solicitor General

The Office of the Solicitor General represents the U.S. Government in cases before the
Supreme Court. It decides what cases the Government should ask the Supreme
Court to review and what position the Government should take in cases
before the Court. It also supervises the preparation of the Government’s Supreme
Court briefs and other legal documents and the conduct of the oral arguments
in the Court. The Solicitor General also decides whether the United States should
appeal in all cases it loses before the lower courts.

U.S. Attorneys

The Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys was created on April 6, 1953, to provide liaison between the Department of Justice in Washington,
DC, and the U.S. attorneys. Its mission is to provide general executive assistance
to the 94 of?ces of the U.S. attorneys and to coordinate the relationship between
the U.S. attorneys and the organization components of the Department of Justice
and other Federal agencies.

For further information, contact the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, Department of Justice, Washington, DC. The Internet address is

U.S. Trustee Program

The Program was established by the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978 (11 U.S.C. 101 et seq.) as a pilot effort in 10 regions encompassing 18 Federal judicial districts to promote the ef?ciency and protect the integrity of the bankruptcy system by identifying and helping to investigate bankruptcy fraud and abuse. It now operates nationwide except in Alabama and North Carolina.

The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (11
U.S.C. 101 note) signi?cantly expanded the Program’s responsibilities and
provided additional tools to combat bankruptcy fraud and abuse. The
Executive Office for U.S. Trustees provides day-to-day policy and legal
direction, coordination, and control.

For further information, contact the Executive Office for U.S. Trustees, Department of Justice. The Internet address is


Antitrust Division

The Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division is responsible for promoting and maintaining competitive markets by enforcing the Federal antitrust laws. This involves investigating possible
antitrust violations, conducting grand jury proceedings, reviewing proposed mergers and acquisitions, preparing and trying antitrust cases, prosecuting appeals, and negotiating and enforcing ?nal judgments. The Division prosecutes
serious and willful violations of antitrust laws by ?ling criminal suits that can lead to large ?nes and jail sentences.

Where criminal prosecution is not appropriate, the Division seeks a court
order forbidding future violations of the law and requiring steps by the defendant
to remedy the anticompetitive effects of past violations.

The Division also is responsible for acting as an advocate of competition
within the Federal Government as well as internationally. This involves formal
appearances in Federal administrative agency proceedings, development
of legislative initiatives to promote deregulation and eliminate unjusti?able
exemptions from the antitrust laws, and participation on executive branch
policy task forces and in multilateral international organizations. The Division
provides formal advice to other agencies on the competitive implications of
proposed transactions requiring Federal approval, such as mergers of financial

For further information, contact the FOIA Unit, Antitrust Division, Department of Justice.

Office of Civil Rights U.S. Department of Justice in relation to Crime and Race

Office of Civil Rights U.S. Department of Justice is included in the Encyclopedia of Race and Crime (1), beginning with: The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Civil Rights, also known as the Civil Rights Division (CRD), is the division within the Department of Justice charged with enforcing federal laws prohibiting discrimination based upon race, sex, religion, disability, and national origin. As such, the Office of Civil Rights investigates and prosecutes racially motivated crimes and violations, such as unfair housing practices and hate crimes. The division has been responsible for numerous significant prosecutions of race crimes from its inception to the present time. Recently, the division has seen an increased caseload, even in the face of budget constraints. Some organizations, such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), as well as the U.S. Congress, criticize the division for not doing enough to ensure that civil rights laws are adequately enforced. (2)

Finding the law: Department of Justice in the U.S. Code

A collection of general and permanent laws relating to department of justice, passed by the United States Congress, are organized by subject matter arrangements in the United States Code (U.S.C.; this label examines department of justice topics), to make them easy to use (usually, organized by legal areas into Titles, Chapters and Sections). The platform provides introductory material to the U.S. Code, and cross references to case law. View the U.S. Code’s table of contents here.

Department of Justice

In Legislation

Department of Justice in the U.S. Code: Title 28, Part II

The current, permanent, in-force federal laws regulating department of justice are compiled in the United States Code under Title 28, Part II. It constitutes “prima facie” evidence of statutes relating to Judiciary (including department of justice) of the United States. The reader can further narrow his/her legal research of the general topic (in this case, Department of Justice and Justice of the US Code, including department of justice) by chapter and subchapter.


Notes and References

  1. Information about Department of Justice in the Encarta Online Encyclopedia
  2. Entry about Office of Civil Rights U.S. Department of Justice in the Encyclopedia of Race and Crime

See Also

Antitrust Law
Board of Immigration Appeals
Bureau of Justice Statistics
Criminal Law
Crime Statistics
Disabilities Law
Drugs — Prohibition and Regulation
United States Attorneys’ Manual


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