What Is The United States Department Of Justice (DOJ)?

The Department of Justice is the federal government agency responsible for enforcing laws and administering justice across the United States.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) was created in 1870 to assist the Office of the Attorney General (then a single-person, part-time position) with its efforts to “prosecute and conduct all suits in the Supreme Court” concerning the United States. As the regulatory reach of the government grew, so did the structure and scope of the Justice Department.

Today, the DOJ is the largest law office in the world, with a budget of $25 billion and numerous offices, boards, and divisions, including the offices of the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General, Associate Attorney General, and Solicitor General.

Department of Justice

What does the Department of Justice do?

The DOJ functions to enforce the laws of the United States, representing its citizens in legal proceedings and protecting them against criminal activity. The stated mission of the DOJ is to:

  • Enforce the law and defend the interests of the United States according to the law
  • Ensure public safety against threats both foreign and domestic
  • Provide federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime
  • Seek just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior
  • Ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans

Divisions & enforcement agencies: DOJ litigation activities are conducted through its Criminal, Civil, Civil Rights, Tax, Antitrust and Environmental and Natural Resources divisions. To administer and enforce the law, the DOJ uses several enforcement agencies, including the FBI, the DEA, and the US Marshals Service. The DOJ also manages the federal prison system through the Bureau of Prisons.

Investigations & prosecutions: The DOJ deals with every type of federal crime, from bank robbery and kidnapping to financial crimes like money laundering, bribery and corruption, and the financing of terrorism. Federal criminal investigations are initially carried out by enforcement agencies with the DOJ providing direction and legal counsel. If the parties involved are charged, the DOJ prosecutes its cases in the federal justice system – from initial hearing, through to trial, sentencing, and appeal.

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