Under the direction of the Attorney-General, has charge of all prosecutions by the government, and supervises the United States courts in the judicial districts of the country. The office of Attorney-General is as old as the present form of government, having been created in 1789 ; but the Department of Justice was not created until 1870, when Congress thought best to combine all the law-officers, and all the law business of the government in an executive department, with the Attorney-General as its head. This official is a member of the Cabinet, and the law-adviser of the President and the heads of the executive departments. He has a compensation of $8,000 per year.
The business of the Department of Justice is conducted, under the supervision of the Attorney-General, by a Solicitor-General, who has a salary of $7,000, three assistant Attorneys-General with salaries of $5,000 each, a Solicitor of Internal Revenue with S4.500, and an assistant Attorney-General of the Post-Office Department with $4,000. There are also an examiner of claims with $3,500, two assistant attorneys with $3,000 each, three assistant attorneys with $2,500 each, one assistant attorney with $2,000, a law clerk and examiner of titles with $2,700, a chief clerk with $2,200, two law clerks with $2,000 each, a stenographic clerk with $1.800 , and forty other clerks and employes. The salaries of the department annually amount to $109,590.
The office of the Solicitor of the Treasury is also under the supervision of the Attorney-General. The Solicitor has charge of the legal business of the Treasury Department. He has a salary of $4,500, and there is an assistant solicitor with a salary of $3,000. In the Solicitor’s office there are fifteen clerks and employes, and the salary list amounts to $28,000.
The five-story building originally erected by the defunct Freed-men’s Savings and Trust Company, on Pennsylvania Avenue, opposite the northern front of the Treasury Building, is occupied by the Department of Justice. In the office of the Attorney-General is a fine collection of portraits of the Attorneys-General of the United States from 1789 to the present time. The first story is used by the United States Court of Claims, which hears and determines claims disputed by the executive departments. The court consists of five judges, who receive salaries of $4,500.
The District Court House is situated on Judiciary Square. It is a large freestone structure, painted white, and was erected in 1820, after designs by George Hadfield. East and west wings were added in 1826 and 1849. Until 1871 it was used by the municipal government as the city hall. All the District courts are held here, with the exception of the police court, which is held in a building on the corner of Sixth and D streets northwest, once a Unitarian church.
The Supreme Court of the District is divided into a criminal court, a District court, a common law court, and an equity court. There are a Chief Justice and five associate justices, who receive an aggregate compensation of $24,500. Connected with the District judiciary ate the offices of the United States District Attorney, the United States Marshal, the Register of Wills, and the Recorder of Deeds.
In the District Court House many notable trials have taken place during the more than half century of its existence. Here Guiteau was tried, and the notorious star route cases” were heard. The District jail formerly stood in the rear of the court house, but it is now located on the banks of the Anacostia River, at the eastern termination of Pennsylvania Avenue. It is a large stone building, erected in 1875, at a cost of $400,000.