United States Attorney General

The United States Attorney General (A.G.) is the head of the United States Department of Justice per 28 U.S.C. § 503, concerned with legal affairs and is the chief law enforcement officer and chief lawyer of the United States government. The attorney general serves as a member of the president’s cabinet, and is the only cabinet officer who does not have the title of secretary.

The Attorney General is appointed by the President of the United States and takes office after confirmation by the United States Senate. He or she serves at the pleasure of the president and can be removed by the president at any time; the attorney general is also subject to impeachment by the House of Representatives and trial in the Senate for “treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors.” The office of Attorney General was established by Congress by the Judiciary Act of 1789. The original duties of this officer 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.” Only in 1870 was the Department of Justice established to support the attorney general in the discharge of their responsibilities. 

The Attorney General, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Secretary of Defense are generally regarded as the four most important cabinet officials because of the importance of their departments. The current Attorney General, Loretta Lynch was nominated by President Obama after serving as the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. She was confirmed by the Senate on April 23, 2015 and sworn in by Vice President Biden on April 27, 2015.