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(Issues)
(Ex-felon voting rights)
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===Obama administration===
 
===Obama administration===
 
====Ex-felon voting rights====
 
====Ex-felon voting rights====
On February 11, 2014, Holder urged states to repeal or amend laws prohibiting ex-felons from voting. While the federal government cannot force the changes, Holder stated, "Whenever we tell citizens who have paid their debts and rejoined their communities that they are not entitled to take part in the democratic process, we fall short of the bedrock promise – of equal opportunity and equal justice – that has always served as the foundation of our legal system." [[Republican]] [[Senator]] [[Rand Paul]] supported the push by the [[U.S. Department of Justice|Justice Department]], claiming, "There are Republicans on our side who will work with Democrats who will do the right thing on this."<ref>[http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/USA-Update/2014/0211/Eric-Holder-Barring-ex-felons-from-voting-is-unfair-counterproductive-video ''Christian Science Monitor'', "Eric Holder: Barring ex-felons from voting is unfair, counterproductive," February 11, 2014]</ref>
+
On February 11, 2014, Holder urged states to repeal or amend laws prohibiting ex-felons from voting. While the federal government cannot force the changes, Holder stated, "Whenever we tell citizens who have paid their debts and rejoined their communities that they are not entitled to take part in the democratic process, we fall short of the bedrock promise – of equal opportunity and equal justice – that has always served as the foundation of our legal system." [[Republican]] Sen. [[Rand Paul]] supported the push by the [[U.S. Department of Justice|Justice Department]], claiming, "There are Republicans on our side who will work with Democrats who will do the right thing on this."<ref>[http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/USA-Update/2014/0211/Eric-Holder-Barring-ex-felons-from-voting-is-unfair-counterproductive-video ''Christian Science Monitor'', "Eric Holder: Barring ex-felons from voting is unfair, counterproductive," February 11, 2014]</ref>
 +
 
 
====Same-sex marriage====
 
====Same-sex marriage====
 
On February 10, 2014, Holder announced increased protection of same-sex spouses, including equal treatment as opposite-sex spouses in "court proceedings, prison visitation and law-enforcement benefit programs even in states that don’t recognize same-sex marriages."<ref>[http://www.politico.com/story/2014/02/eric-holder-same-sex-couples-courts-103289.html#ixzz2t7hzNhbQ ''Politico'', "Eric Holder to accord more recognition to same-sex couples," February 12, 2013]</ref> The benefits covered the 34 states in which same-sex marriages are not recognized at the state level, but they only apply to situations in which the federal government has jurisdiction. Holder stated in a memo, "It is the (Justice Department's) policy to recognize lawful same-sex marriages as broadly as possible, to ensure equal treatment for all members of society regardless of sexual orientation."<ref>[http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/08/politics/holder-same-sex-marriage-rights/ ''CNN'', "U.S. expands legal benefits, services for same-sex marriages," February 10, 2014]</ref>
 
On February 10, 2014, Holder announced increased protection of same-sex spouses, including equal treatment as opposite-sex spouses in "court proceedings, prison visitation and law-enforcement benefit programs even in states that don’t recognize same-sex marriages."<ref>[http://www.politico.com/story/2014/02/eric-holder-same-sex-couples-courts-103289.html#ixzz2t7hzNhbQ ''Politico'', "Eric Holder to accord more recognition to same-sex couples," February 12, 2013]</ref> The benefits covered the 34 states in which same-sex marriages are not recognized at the state level, but they only apply to situations in which the federal government has jurisdiction. Holder stated in a memo, "It is the (Justice Department's) policy to recognize lawful same-sex marriages as broadly as possible, to ensure equal treatment for all members of society regardless of sexual orientation."<ref>[http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/08/politics/holder-same-sex-marriage-rights/ ''CNN'', "U.S. expands legal benefits, services for same-sex marriages," February 10, 2014]</ref>

Revision as of 23:00, 30 April 2014

Department of Justice
US-DeptOfJustice-Seal.svg
Secretary:Eric Holder
Deputy Secretary:James M. Cole
Annual budget:$31.2 billion (2013)
Total employed:114,347
Year created:1789
Official website:http://www.justice.gov/

FederalAffairsLogo-01.png

Executive Departments of the United States

Executive Departments
Department of DefenseDepartment of StateDepartment of Homeland SecurityDepartment of JusticeDepartment of CommerceDepartment of EducationDepartment of the TreasuryDepartment of AgricultureDepartment of EnergyDepartment of LaborDepartment of TransportationDepartment of the InteriorDepartment of Health and Human ServicesDepartment of Veterans AffairsDepartment of Housing and Urban Development

Department Secretaries
Chuck HagelJohn KerryJeh JohnsonEric HolderPenny PritzkerArne DuncanJack LewTom VilsackErnest MonizTom PerezAnthony FoxxSally JewellSylvia Mathews BurwellRobert McDonaldJulian Castro
The Department of Justice (DoJ) is a United States executive department formed in 1789 to assist the president and cabinet in matters concerning the law and to prosecute Supreme Court cases for the federal government. Edmund Randolph was the first attorney general appointed by President Washington in 1789.[1] The current attorney general is Eric Holder, who was confirmed by the Senate on February 2, 2009.[2]

The Department of Justice currently employs 114,347 people both in the U.S. and abroad.[3] Among the agencies overseen by the Department are the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), U.S. Marshals Service, Bureau of Prisons and Interpol Washington.[4]

History

The Office of the Attorney General was formed under the Judiciary Act of 1789 in order to advise the president on law and to prosecute cases in the Supreme Court.[5] Gradually the Office began adding assistants and hiring private lawyers to handle an increasing number of federal cases until 1870, when Congress enacted An Act to Establish the Department of Justice. The Department became official on July 1, 1870, and covered all criminal prosecutions and civil suits in which the United States had an interest, became the enforcer of all federal laws and created the office of solicitor general.[5] The foundation of the Department is still based on that act, though it has grown into the largest law office and central enforcer of federal laws in the world.[5]

Structure

Mission

The official Department mission statement is as follows:

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.[5][6]

Leadership

The attorney general is the top law enforcement officer in the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder currently holds the position.

Note: Votes marked "N/A" represent voice votes or unrecorded votes. Missing votes will be filled as they are researched.


Organizational chart

DOJ org chart.jpg

Issues

Obama administration

Ex-felon voting rights

On February 11, 2014, Holder urged states to repeal or amend laws prohibiting ex-felons from voting. While the federal government cannot force the changes, Holder stated, "Whenever we tell citizens who have paid their debts and rejoined their communities that they are not entitled to take part in the democratic process, we fall short of the bedrock promise – of equal opportunity and equal justice – that has always served as the foundation of our legal system." Republican Sen. Rand Paul supported the push by the Justice Department, claiming, "There are Republicans on our side who will work with Democrats who will do the right thing on this."[7]

Same-sex marriage

On February 10, 2014, Holder announced increased protection of same-sex spouses, including equal treatment as opposite-sex spouses in "court proceedings, prison visitation and law-enforcement benefit programs even in states that don’t recognize same-sex marriages."[8] The benefits covered the 34 states in which same-sex marriages are not recognized at the state level, but they only apply to situations in which the federal government has jurisdiction. Holder stated in a memo, "It is the (Justice Department's) policy to recognize lawful same-sex marriages as broadly as possible, to ensure equal treatment for all members of society regardless of sexual orientation."[9]

Mandatory minimum sentencing


Holder explains the changes to the justice system.

On August 12, 2013, Holder announced a directive to federal prosecutors lowering the number of convictions that mandate minimum sentences. Holder's directive stated the mandatory minimum sentences for low-level, non-violent drug offenders have been a contributing factor in the prison population that has grown 800% since 1980.[10] The "Smart on Crime" initiative has five main principles which the plan claimed will help the Department of Justice "become both smarter and tougher on crime." The five principles are as follows:[11]

  • Prioritize prosecutions to focus on most serious cases
  • Reform sentencing to eliminate unfair disparities and reduce overburdened prisons
  • Pursue alternatives to incarceration for low-level, non-violent crimes
  • Improve reentry to curb repeat offenses and re-victimization
  • 'Surge' resources to violence prevention and protecting most vulnerable populations

Silk Road

On October 2, 2013, the Justice Department announced the seizure of the black market website, Silk Road, where users coordinated drug trafficking and other illegal activities using digital currency. The criminal complaint listed the total estimated transactions on the website at about $1.2 billion.[12] Ross William Ulbright was arrested as the alleged site owner. According to an FBI spokesperson, "basically he made a simple mistake and we were able to identify him."[13]

Texas voting rights

A U.S. Supreme Court decision on June 25, 2013, released 16 jurisdictions from federal voting rights oversight set in place by the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Court's decision required Congress to pass new standards of determining which jurisdictions should have federal oversight.[14] After the decision was made, Texas officials stated a previously blocked Voter ID law would be enforced.[15]

On July 25, Holder announced the Department of Justice would attempt to regain oversight by using another section of the Voting Rights Act, known as bail-in. If the Department can provide evidence of unconstitutional voting practices in the state to federal courts, oversight can be restored. However, it would not have the strength or coverage of the original legislation. Holder also pushed Congress to reimpose clear guidelines for jurisdictions needing federal oversight.[15]

The Justice Department announced on August 22, that it would challenge Texas' Voter ID law as well as the redistricting plan passed by the Republican majority legislature in separate cases.[16] In a statement released, Holder said, "We will not allow the Supreme Court’s recent decision to be interpreted as open season for states to pursue measures that suppress voting rights. The Department will take action against jurisdictions that attempt to hinder access to the ballot box, no matter where it occurs. We will keep fighting aggressively to prevent voter disenfranchisement."[17] The Department announced they would also challenge a law passed in North Carolina which includes voter ID language.[16]

Analysis

Budget

Obama administration

U.S. Department of Justice Annual Budget
YearBudget (in billions)% Difference from previous year
2014$31.82.58%
2013$31.0-5.78%
2012$32.98.22%
2011$30.4-0.33%
2010$30.56.64%
2009$28.6N/A
  • Note: 2014 only represents the Department's budget request, not an enacted budget.

Employment

The Best Places to work in the Federal Government is a website that tracks workforce trends in federal agencies. According to their analysis, from 2005-2011, the Department of Justice has added an average of 1,150 jobs per year.[18]

Sequester

The Department of Justice's budget was cut by $1.6 billion due to sequestration beginning in March 2013. No furloughs were ordered for civilian employees.[19][20]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term U.S. + Department + Justice

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

U.S. Department of Justice News Feed

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External links

References

  1. U.S. Department of Justice, "Edmund Jennings Randolph," accessed August 22, 2013
  2. New York Times, "Holder Is Confirmed as Attorney General," February 2, 2009
  3. Department of Justice, "U.S. Department of Justice Overview" accessed August 22, 2013
  4. Department of Justice, "Department of Justice Agencies," accessed August 22, 2013
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Department of Justice, "About DOJ," accessed August 22, 2013
  6. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  7. Christian Science Monitor, "Eric Holder: Barring ex-felons from voting is unfair, counterproductive," February 11, 2014
  8. Politico, "Eric Holder to accord more recognition to same-sex couples," February 12, 2013
  9. CNN, "U.S. expands legal benefits, services for same-sex marriages," February 10, 2014
  10. NBC News, "Holder: 'New approach' to reduce mandatory drug sentences," August 12, 2013
  11. Department of Justice, "Smart on Crime: Reforming The Criminal Justice System for the 21st Century," August 12, 2013
  12. Time, "Feds Raid Online Drug Market Silk Road," October 2, 2013
  13. Forbes, "End Of The Silk Road: FBI Busts The Web's Biggest Anonymous Drug Black Market," October 2, 2013
  14. Miami Herald, "A guide to voting rights lawsuits in Texas," July 25, 2013
  15. 15.0 15.1 New York Times, "U.S. Asks Court to Limit Texas on Ballot Rules," July 25, 2013
  16. 16.0 16.1 Washington Post, "Justice Department will challenge Texas Voter ID law," August 22, 2013
  17. Department of Justice, "Justice Department to File New Lawsuit Against State of Texas Over Voter I.D. Law," August 22, 2013
  18. The Best Places to work in the Federal Government, "Agency Report: Department of Justice," accessed August 22, 2013
  19. Department of Justice, "Notice to Vendors Regarding Sequestration," accessed August 22, 2013
  20. Government Executive, "Furlough Watch: Agency-by-Agency Impacts of Sequestration," May 30, 2013