JUSTICE, Department of, in the United States, an executive branch of the government, the supreme head of which, the Attorney-Gen eral, is appointed by the President and con firmed by the Senate. He is a member of the Cabinet, according to the provisions of the Act of Congress of 19 Jan. 1886, ranking fourth, aftet the Vice-President, in the line of suc cession to the Presidency in case of a vacancy in that office, and his salary is $12,000 a year.
The office of Attorney-General was estab lished in 1789, almost at the beginning of the government, being provided for by the great act that established the Federal courts, but the Department of Justice was not organized into a separate department nor placed under the charge of the Attorney-General until 1870, when by the act of 22 Tune of that year the estab lishment of this department brought under his control all United States district attorneys and marshals and secured uniformity in the trial and prosecution of cases. By this act the so licitors from the Interior, Navy. and Treasury departments and the examiner of claims of the State Department were also brought under the control of the Department of Justice.
As head of the Department of Justice, the Attorney-General is the chief law officer of the government, is the legal adviser of the Presi dent on any questions of law which may arise in the conduct of administrative affairs, and is also required by statute to give his advice and opinion, when requested, to the head of any executive department on any question of law ri asing in his department. The eral represents the government in all cases at law to which it may be a party, but he rarely i argues the case in person, this work being per formed by his subordinates, whom he appoints, or by special counsel whom he is authorized to employ in cases of especial importance to the government. The Attorney-General passes upon
the validity of the title to public lands or other property to be purchased by the govern ment for the erection of public buildings or for other public purposes; he also exercises general superintendence and direction over the attorneys and marshals of all the districts in the United States and the Territories as to the manner of discharging their respective duties, and makes an annual report to Congress on the business of the Department. The supervision of the penal and reformatory institutions of the United States, the supervision of the revision and cod ification of the criminal and penal laws, the recommendation of judicial appointments, the administration of the national bankruptcy laws, investigation of applications for clemency, etc., are other duties which come under the direction of the Department of Justice. Two assistant attorney-generals were provided for in 1868 — one of whom was placed in the Supreme Court, the other in the Court of Claims. There is also an assistant for the Interior Depart ment, one for the Post-Office Department, and one to handle Indian depredations claims.
The solicitor-general, whose office was cre ated in 1870, ranks as second officer of the Department of Justice; takes the place of the Attorney-General in the latter's absence, and also has charge of the conduct of cases in the courts at Washington.