Department of Justice research paper on the cabinet-level part of the United States executive branch, headed by the Attorney General and the highest law enforcement agency in the country.
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The Department of Justice (DOJ) is a cabinet-level part of the United States executive branch, headed by the Attorney General and the highest law enforcement agency in the country. Originally, the Attorney General was a single individual, the legal counsel to the President and Congress. However, by 1819, the office of the Attorney General had expanded through bureaucracy. Edmund Randolph was the first Attorney General under George Washington. In 2013, the Attorney General was Eric Holder, the first African-American to hold the post.
Department of Justice and the Attorney General
In 1869, the US House Committee on the Judiciary voted to create an entire law department around the Attorney General, leading to the creation of the Department of Justice, which officially came into operations on July 1, 1870. Expansion of the scope of the DOJ came in 1887, with the passage of the Interstate Commerce Act, requiring additional law enforcement by the federal government. In 1884, control of federal prisons was transferred from the Department of the Interior to the DOJ.
Law Enforcement Agencies
Several law enforcement agencies fall under the purveyance of the DOJ, including:
- United States Marshals Service
- Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
- Federal Bureau of Prisons
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF)
- Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
Additionally, the DOJ oversees all of the US Attorneys throughout the United States as well as the Solicitor General.