Department of Justice (DOJ)

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) is the federal executive agency charged with enforcing federal law. Also referred to as the Justice Department or the DOJ. Its mission statement is “to enforce the law and defend the interests of the United States according to the law; to ensure public safety against threats foreign and domestic; to provide federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime; to seek just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior; and to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.”

Congress formed the Department of Justice in 1870 to assist the Attorney General with an increased amount of federal litigation. The Department of Justice is headed by the Attorney General, who is nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The department is composed of the United States Attorney’s Office (USAO) and federal law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). These federal law enforcement agencies investigate federal criminal matters, and the United States Attorney’s Office prosecutes such crimes. The United States Attorney’s Office also represents the federal government in civil and appellate litigation. 

[Last updated in December of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]