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The powers of the US Attorney General

The United States Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States government. Concerned with legal affairs, he heads the United States Department of Justice. The Attorney General is nominated by the President of the United States and his position receives ratification from the Senate. The current Attorney General, sworn into office in February 2009, is Eric Holder, the first African-American to hold the position.

History & duties

History
The history of the Attorney General's office dates to 1789, when the office was established by the Judiciary Act of Congress. The original duties of the position were "to prosecute and conduct all suits in the Supreme Court in which the United States shall be concerned, and to give his advice and opinion upon questions of law when required by the President of the United States, or when requested by the heads of any of the departments." First Attorney General
Edmund Randolph of the state of Virgnia was the first Attorney General. There was no official justice department until 1870 to support the Attorney General in his duties.
Duties
The Attorney General is considered to be the chief lawyer of the United States, and is the head of the US Dept. of Justice. He or she serves at the discretion of the President of the United States. The incumbent of the office can therefore be removed at any time by the head of the government. The office of Attorney General can also be subject to impeachment by the House of Representatives, as well as trial in the Senate for "treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors." The United States Department of Justice, often referred to as the USDOJ for short, is situated on a lot bordered by Constitution and Pennsylvania Avenues and Ninth and Tenth Streets, Northwest, in Washington DC, and its brief covers the wide and complex world of laws and law enforcement in the United States.

Famous incumbents

Robert F. Kennedy was Attorney General between 1961 and 1964, serving under his brother John F. Kennedy's Presidency as well as that of Lyndon B. Johnson. He was immediately succeeded in the role by Nichilas Katzenbach and Ramsey Clark. George W. Bush was served by three different Attorney Generals. These were John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzalez and Michael Mukasey. Bill Clinton's Attorney General was Janet Reno. President Arbraham Lincoln's Attorney General was Edward Bates of Missouri,. who was the first Cabinet member to hail from west of the Mississippi River.

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