With the assistance of the judicial provisions, under the ambit of sections 501 and 503 of the United States Code which is also known as the U.S.C, on July 1, 1870, the Department of Justice called the DOJ, was established formally, which solely operates under the leadership of the Attorney General of the United States.
The fact that core objective behind the Department of Justice’s inception revolves around the sense of exercising oversight over federal law enforcement endeavours as well as assuming responsibility for all proceedings pertaining to criminal prosecution and civil litigation in cases where the United States holds a vested interest, makes the said department truly invaluable.
The addition of important roles such as the Deputy Attorney General, the Associate Attorney General, and Assistant Attorneys General, along with the idea of establishing various sections, aspects, and components, has facilitated the said department’s ability to effectively address the diverse legal matters it encounters.
It is essential to pinpoint the idea that the Department’s abiding commitment to upholding equal justice for every individual remains unwavering, which refers to the fact amidst the aforementioned changes, certain principles have persisted very categorically.
Hence, the aforementioned translates into a continuous dedication in order to make sure that the said judicial regime treats everyone fairly, equally, and impartially.
Not only that, but the Department of Justice also emphasizes executing the concept of its mission which is to foster reverence for the rule of law, identifying the essence that a strong legal foundation is fundamental to the functioning of an appropriate and crime-free society.
Running on the said lines of thought, apart from implementing the solutions for the attainment of the goals as aforementioned, the Department of Justice also plays a pivotal role in enhancing the safety and security of the nation as a whole.
From maintaining its focus on preserving the integrity of the legal system, and advocating for justice, to contributing to a safer environment, the Department of Justice serves as a cornerstone of the United States legal and judicial landscape.
1. The Mission of The Department Of Justice
Defined evidently in its Strategic Plan for the fiscal years spanning 2014 to 2018, the core objective of the Department of Justice has not only been very precise but also served as a torchbearer for promoting equality among the citizens of the United States.
The said goals of the department have been elaborated very aptly in the following way:
- To uphold the law followed by safeguarding the interests of the United States which lies in sync with the legal principles, that guarantee the safety of the public from both foreign and domestic threats
- To take a leading role at the federal level in the prevention and management of any kind of criminal activities
- To ensure reasonable consequences are emphasized upon the individuals who are found to be responsible for unlawful conduct
- To ensure that there is fair, apt, and unbiased delivery of justice for every United States citizen.
In order for the Department of Justice, to execute its mission, there are certain actions which must be performed, that are guided by the fundamental principles as outlined below:
- Equal Justice Before the Law: The duty of upholding the laws of the United States has been entrusted to the said Department by the citizens of the United States.
- Ensuring that there is impartial and consistent enforcement of these laws, which guarantees that all citizens are bestowed with the advantage of having equal protection and getting fair treatment within the boundaries of the legal system is the entire essence of the said duty.
- Honesty and Integrity: The Department adheres to the code of conduct unwaveringly, the core of which reflects the utmost crucial ethical standards.
- The said commitment converts into a resolute dedication to transparent and principled behaviour of the Department of Justice in all aspects of their work.
- Commitment to Excellence: From aspiring to deliver the highest quality of service to the citizens of the United States entailing the concept of precise efficacy in managing resources, to fulfilling the duty of bestowing excellent work upon the individuals residing in the States, is vehemently essential.
- Not to forget, their responsibility pertaining to stewardship of taxpayer funds to ensure optimal results and the most beneficial outcomes have also served as one of the most important aspects.
- Respect for the Worth and Dignity of Each Human Being: Be it among colleagues or in serving the public, the Department of Justice’s interactions solely reflect the principles of fairness, respect, and empathy.
- From valuing the diversity that falls under the categories of people as well as concepts, to making sure proper dedication is extended towards bettering the well-being of the Department of Justice’s workforce, the said arena of the judicial branch provides a platform for opportunities that can develop personal growth and lead to greater advancement.
2. The Goals and Objectives of The Department of Justice
From embracing the principles of performance-based management, understanding the concept that enhanced performance is achieved by emphasizing the essence of the mission, to reaching consensus on objectives, as well as promptly reporting outcomes, the aforementioned Department comprises all the pillars as stated above.
Revolving around an iterative planning and execution cycle, this approach has been positioned at the core of the Department’s commitment in order to put into play the concept of performance-based management.
Starting from the top, which is the first step of the said cycle, is termed strategic planning.
To elaborate further, it has been stated that within this cycle, the Department of Justice, curates a set of long-term goals and objectives, followed by placing these corporate desires into concrete budget plans and program blueprints for the further course of action.
Post that, the idea of practical implementation of the above-stated programs serves as stage two followed by the systematic monitoring of their performance and culminating in an evaluation of the achieved results which is termed stage three.
On the same lines, it deems it essential to put across the fact that throughout this comprehensive cycle, the Department of Justice’s Strategic Plan for any of the crafted fiscal years forms the brief framework pertaining to the implementation of the desired goals.
The very idea that this strategic blueprint not only guides the formulation of specialized plans for individual components and functions but also informs the creation of yearly performance plans, budgets, and comprehensive reports serves to be the key to the development and curation of the same.
3. The Organizational Structure of The Department of Justice
The Attorney General being the supervising authority that oversees the Department of Justice, is the one who makes sure all the 40 and above distinct component branches prevailing under the Department work aptly.
These encompass a range of vital authorities which are stated as follows:
3.1. U.S. Attorneys:
Also known as the USAs, are responsible for the prosecution of offenders as well as for serving as representatives of the United States government in legal proceedings of matters involving the country.
3.2. Major Investigative Agencies:
3.2.1. Federal Bureau of Investigation:
Commonly called the FBI, it is an agency that has not only been engaged in crime prevention and investigation but also in gathering intelligence, as well as apprehending criminals.
3.2.2. Drug Enforcement Administration:
Focused on restricting, preventing and investigating drug-related crimes as well as arresting individuals who are involved in these activities, the DEA is a key prong of the investigative agencies prevailing in the United States.
3.2.3. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives:
The ATF takes under its umbrella the processes of deterrence and securitization of illegalities pertaining to the aspects of alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives, and apprehends suspects.
3.3. U.S. Marshals Service:
From safeguarding the federal judiciary, and capturing fugitives, to detaining individuals held in federal custody, the USMS has been tasked with the most sacred duty of protecting the nation as well as the citizens of the United States.
3.4. Bureau of Prisons:
To execute the responsibility pertaining to the incarceration of convicted offenders, the BOP has been instituted.
3.5. National Security Division:
Also known as the NSD, the body is bestowed with the duty to unify the efforts under the ambit of national security, counterterrorism, counterintelligence, as well as foreign intelligence surveillance, under a single authority.
As a whole, speaking about these component organizations, it is clearly witnessed that they form the backbone of the Department of Justice’s activities, which encompasses various aspects, ranging from law enforcement, and criminal justice, to security procedures, as well as legal representation.
Under the leadership of the authority as above mentioned, they contribute not only to the fulfilment of the Department’s mission and commitment to justice but also to ensure there is safety, as well as the well-being of the nation is taken into account.
3.6. The Law Division –
The Department of Justice’s divisions pertaining to the aspect of litigation hold a very crucial positioning while representing the rights and interests of the citizens of the United States, which therefore ensures that the enforcement of federal criminal and civil laws is executed aptly.
The said litigating divisions take under their umbrella the following aspects:
- Antitrust Division or the ATR
- Civil Division also known as CIV
- CRT, the full form of which is the Civil Rights Division
- Criminal Division, commonly called CRM
- Environment and Natural Resources Division recognized as the ENRD
- Tax Division, known as the Department of TAX
Not only the aforementioned, but the Department of Justice also takes into account other branches of the litigation aspect which is stated below:
- The OJP or The Office of Justice Programs
- The Office on Violence Against Women, commonly called The OVW
- The Office of Community-Oriented Policing Services, also known as The COPS
To extend guidance and support to state, local, and tribal governments, the above-stated authorities have been instituted.
Along the same lines, there are entities which are mentioned below that are termed notable Departmental entities:
- The Executive Office for U.S. Trustees, distinguished as the UST
- The Justice Management Division, also known as the JMD
- The Executive Office for Immigration Review, or the EOIR
- The Community Relations Service, commonly called the CRS
- The OIG, the full form of which is The Office of the Inspector General
- The Office of Tribal Justice, identified as the OTJ
Not only the above said, but the fact that several offices offer counsel to the Attorney General on matters pertaining to the aspects of policy, law, legislation, tribal justice, external affairs, and oversight stands at a position of utmost essentiality.
Though the Department of Justice has been headquartered in Washington, D.C., its jurisdiction for carrying out activities extends to various offices that are located across the nation as well as internationally.
4. The Idea of Data Reliability and Validity
Placing a high level of emphasis on the reliability and validity of data in the context of its performance planning and assessment, the Department of Justice broadens its importance, on the other hand, the said department is deeply committed to enhancing the accuracy and dependability of its performance information.
Diving deeper into the concept, it has been stated that to achieve the aforementioned, the Department of Justice undertakes a series of measures, which stands inclusive of the process that pertains to conducting “data scrubs.”
The said essence of “scrubs” takes into account an approach that revolves around a systematic analysis of both current and historical data sets, as well as forward-looking assessments in order to pinpoint and identify trends.
To ensure that the data which stands pivotal for making informed day-to-day management decisions are as precise and dependable as possible, such aforesaid steps are taken by the Department of Justice.
A continuous process of evaluating and refining the data to eliminate errors and discrepancies is what the aforesaid is for the sole purpose of enhancing the overall trustworthiness of the information.
To ensure that there is transparency and accountability pertaining to data, the Department has been proactive in addressing the limitations with regard to the same. For the aforesaid to initiate, open discussions of data validation, as well as verification practices, are conducted.
Apart from the aforementioned, any identified constraints or limitations in the data are not only acknowledged and identified but also discussed thoroughly alongside each performance measure presented.
Thus, it can be said that the aforesaid meticulous approach underscores the Department of Justice’s commitment to precision and integrity in its data performance evaluation.
From actively striving for data reliability to candidly addressing any potential shortcomings, the Department not only upholds its dedication to effectively conducting its responsibilities but also managing the resources for the betterment of the citizens of the United States.
On the same lines, guaranteeing the fact that each reporting component contributing data to this report adheres to the criteria of the essence that at the very least, performance data are deemed reliable when the transactions and related data supporting reported performance measures are not only accurately captured, but also aptly processed, and condensed, is executed by the Department of Justice.
Based on the aforesaid, it is authorized to put across the fact that this process allows the compilation of performance information that stands in alignment with the guidelines curated briefly by the management.
Apart from what has been expressed above, it deems it highly crucial to emphasize the aspect that performance data does not need to be flawless in order to be considered and termed as reliable.
The aforesaid stands specifically true if the expenses as well as the resources required to obtain the most accurate performance data available stand in a position to outweigh the potential benefits of the aforementioned data.
In order to better elaborate, it has been out for that the Department acknowledges that data perfection isn’t always feasible or economically justified, hence the focus lies on the essence of maintaining a level of reliability that supports informed decision-making without dealing with the hassle of becoming overly burdensome or impractical in terms of resources exhausted.
To brief on the aforesaid, quoting Thomas Jefferson becomes a must. In his words, verbatim, it has been stated that “The most sacred of the duties of government is to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens.”
5. The Idea of The Statutory Authority
The Judiciary Act of 1789, specifically section 35, chapter 20, was the provision, under the ambit of which the establishment of the Office of the Attorney General had been clearly stated.
It was only following the aftermath of the Civil War in 1870, that a significant rise was witnessed in the sector of litigation, involving the United States, hence the need to handle such an increased workload led to Congress acting on the same.
Diving deeper into the aforesaid concept, as a response to the issue at hand, Congress had been bestowed with the authority to pass the Act to Establish the Department of Justice, which had been curated in chapter 150.
Due to the initiation of the Judiciary Act, the Department of Justice had been formally brought into existence as an “executive department of the government of the United States,” with the Attorney General serving as its head.
Bestowing the Department of Justice authority to oversee all matters related to criminal prosecutions and civil lawsuits in which the United States held a vested interest, the legislative move of bringing the aforementioned into play changed the game for the judiciary aspect altogether.
This referred to the fact that the transition marked a significant development in the structure, duties and obligations of the legal regime that was seen within the government of the United States.
Not only the idea as aforesaid, but the essence that the Judiciary Act also granted the Attorney General as well as the Department of Justice the power to manage and look over federal law enforcement, led to the positioning of the Attorney General as the primary law enforcement official of the Federal Government.
On the same lines of thought, the aforesaid statute also stood responsible for establishing the Office of the Solicitor General to not only aid the Attorney General in their responsibilities but also to better the judicial department of the United States.
Forming the fundamental basis, this legislative enactment, on which the Department of Justice also known as the DOJ continues to operate, serves as a vital pillar of the judiciary system.
Running parallelly on the said concept, the formation of the Department of Justice has gone through vital and enormous transformations as well as expansions over the years.
From the inclusion of the Deputy Attorney General and the Associate Attorney General positions to the establishment of various components and divisions, these developments have been the key additions to the judicial modus operandi.
What has served as a constant branch, is the idea of the steady rise in the Department’s workload. This refers to the fact that due to the evolution, various cases fall under the umbrella of the Department of Justice hence it has led to become the world’s largest legal institution and the central hub for the enforcement of federal laws.
Therefore, the role it serves, marks as a cornerstone of the legal and justice system, so that it remains intact as it navigates its mission within the ever-changing landscape of legal matters and societal demands.
6. The Agencies and The Department of Justice
The Department of Justice constitutes a vital entity within the United States federal government, which is tasked with the responsibility of upholding and enforcing the country’s laws.
Additionally, the Department of Justice, as a core duty, has been entrusted with the idea of safeguarding the well-being of the citizens of the United States from both domestic and foreign threats.
From encompassing the enforcement of criminal statutes as well as laws deemed important to counterterrorism efforts to address a wide spectrum of legal and security issues, the Department of Justice not only makes the aforementioned a mandatory obligation that needs to be fulfilled but also plays a pivotal role in maintaining the safety, order, as well as integrity of the United States legal and social aspect.
5.1 Agencies Under the Department
5.1.1. Federal Bureau of Investigation:
The FBI, a body of authority brought into existence in 1908, holds the prominent position as the foremost federal law enforcement agency in the United States.
From dealing with terrorism cases to white-collar crimes, bestowed with the authority to investigate an array of offences, it operates through 56 field offices that are positioned across the nation.
Not only the aforesaid, but these offices also generate comprehensive reports on crime data and patterns, which serves as an aid in understanding trends falling under the ambit of various criminal activities.
5.1.2. U.S. Marshals Service:
Known as USMS, it serves as both the protective shield and support agency for the judicial system, the authority executes requests from the country’s courts.
From seizing evidence crucial to criminal cases to ensuring the safety of judges and courthouses, as well as safeguarding witnesses, the said branch of power is tasked with a variety of duties.
5.1.3. Drug Enforcement Administration:
The DEA is empowered to enforce federal drug laws, primarily those outlined in the Controlled Substances Act, where the officers are bestowed with the authority to not only scrutinize suspected suppliers and manufacturers, and confiscate evidence, but also to execute raids on drug production facilities, as well as apprehend individuals who are suspected of distributing such kind of substances.
5.1.4. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives:
Not only does the aspect of encompassing the enforcement of federal regulations governing the illegal import, manufacture, and distribution of items ranging from alcohol, and tobacco, to firearms, and explosives, but the ATF, as a body of power is also bestowed with the authority to possess expertise in post-blast and arson investigations, as well as combating gang activities.
5.1.5. Foreign Claims Settlement Commission:
Known as the FCSC, to address the claims of personal injury, property damage, as well as losses lodged by the citizens of the United States in foreign nations, the said branch of the Department of Justice assesses the validity followed by quantifying the value of the said claims.
From war crimes to events like the Holocaust, cases like the aforesaid fall under the umbrella of the aforesaid aspect of authority.
5.1.6. Federal Bureau of Prisons:
The BOP is bestowed with the power to manage the Federal Prison System, which administers a network of 119 prisons that collectively houses almost 220,000 inmates. Hence it serves as the body of power bestowed with the responsibility of not only upholding legal sentencing and incarceration mandates but also of utmost essentiality.
5.1.7. National Central Bureau of INTERPOL:
Serving as the United States’ representation within the global law enforcement network INTERPOL, this bureau is bestowed with the responsibility of disseminating information from enforcement agencies to local forces pertaining to the “wanted” criminals who have crossed international borders.
On the same lines, it has been elaborated that, the said body of authority doesn’t directly investigate crimes, but facilitates the flow of intelligence that supports federal, state, and local law enforcement efforts.
5.2 Lawyers and The Department of Justice
Individuals who serve under the expertise of the Department of Justice are stated below:
5.2.1. Attorney General:
Serving as the foremost legal representative of the nation, the Attorney General not only provides expert advice to the President as well as the cabinet on a wide spectrum of legal issues but also looks over the affairs of the Department of Justice.
Apart from the aforementioned, the authority holding such a position also assumes responsibility for the management of the department’s operations and functions.
5.2.2. Solicitor General:
Regarded as the highest attainable power of authority for a practising attorney, the Solicitor General’s office holds the pivotal position of representing the federal government before the United States Supreme Court.
Complementing the same, it has been said that under this capacity, the Solicitor General is bestowed with the vital duty that revolves around shaping the government’s legal positions before the highest court of the land.
5.2.3. United States Attorneys:
Comprising a group of 93 legal professionals, the core legal body that is granted the authority to represent the federal government is the United States Attorneys.
From tax law, and criminal law, to civil law, the said individuals with the power, operate across the nation’s lower courts and cover the aforesaid three fundamental spheres of law.
From bringing under its umbrella new positions such as Deputy Attorney General, Associate Attorney General, and Assistant Attorneys General, to exercising oversight over federal law enforcement endeavours, the Department of Justice serves as a key pillar in the development of the judicial system of the United States.