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Were Federalist Really Your Friends


United States Department Of Justice: The United States Department of Justice (DOJ), also known as the Justice Department, is the U.S. federal executive department responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice, equivalent to the justice or interior ministries of other countries. The Department is led by the Attorney General, who is nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate and is a member of the Cabinet. The “Act to Establish the Department of Justice” drastically increased the Attorney General’s responsibilities to include the supervision of all United States Attorneys, formerly under the Department of the Interior, the prosecution of all federal crimes, and the representation of the United States in all court actions, barring the use of private attorneys by the federal government . The law did create a new office, that of Solicitor General, to supervise and conduct government litigation in the Supreme Court of the United States. With the passage of the Interstate Commerce Act in 1887, the federal government began to take on some law enforcement responsibilities, with the Department of Justice tasked to carry out these duties. In 1884, control of federal prisons was transferred to the new department, from the Department of Interior. New facilities were built, including the penitentiary at Leavenworth in 1895, and a facility for women located in West Virginia, at Alderson Was established in 1924. In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order which conveyed, to the Department of Justice, the responsibility for the “functions of prosecuting in the courts of the United States claims and demands by, and offenses against, the Government of the United States, and of defending claims and demands against the Government, and of supervising the work of United States attorneys, marshals, and clerks in connection therewith, now exercised by any agency or officer….” . 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 of the United States government. The attorney general is considered to be the chief lawyer of the U.S. government. The attorney general serves as a member of the president’s cabinet and is the only cabinet department head who is not given the title Secretary. 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 his 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 Federalist Papers’: Jay did not attend the Constitutional Convention but contributed five essays to what later became the Federalist Papers. The Federalist Papers are a series of 85 articles about the United States Constitution, first published serially in New York City newspapers (the Independent Journal, the New-York Packet and the Daily Advertiser) between October 27, 1787, and May 28, 1788. A compilation, called The Federalist, was published in 1788. The articles were intended to explain the new Constitution to the residents of New York state and persuade them to ratify it. The articles were written under the pseudonym “Publius” by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay. Madison is generally credited as the father of the Constitution and became the fourth President of the United States. Hamilton was an influential delegate at the Constitutional Convention, and later the first Secretary of the Treasury. John Jay would become the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Hamilton penned the majority, Madison made several significant contributions to the series, Jay wrote but a handful. The authorship for 73 of the papers is fairly certain. But there are 12 of them that are in dispute, with no definitive way to say who wrote them, though all 12 were generally considered to be written by either Madison or Hamilton. Adding to the difficulty, Hamilton claimed authorship of some of them well after they were written. Statistical analysis has been undertaken a number of times to try to decide based on word frequencies and writing styles, and nearly all of the statistical studies show that all 12 papers were written by Madison. (Fung, 2003) The Federalist Papers serve as a primary source for interpretation of the Constitution. They also outline the philosophy and motivation of the proposed system of government, as it was presented by Madison, Hamilton, and Jay. The authors of the Federalist Papers were not above using the opportunity to provide their own “spin” on certain provisions of the constitution to (influence the vote on ratification and (ii) influence future interpretations of the provisions in question. Federalist No. 10 and Federalist No. 51 are generally regarded as the most influential of the 85 articles; 10 advocates for a large, strong republic, 51 explains the need for separation of powers. The Federalist papers are remarkable for their opposition to what later became the United States Bill of Rights. The idea of adding a bill of rights to the Constitution was originally controversial. The idea was that the Constitution, as written did not specifically enumerate or protect the rights of the people, and as such needed an addition to ensuring such protection. However, many Americans at the time opposed the bill of rights: If such a bill was created, many people feared that this would later be interpreted as a list of the only rights that people had. Hamilton wrote:
It has been several times truly remarked, that bills of rights are in their origin, stipulations between kings and their subjects, abridgments of prerogative in favor of privilege, reservations of rights not surrendered to the prince. Such was Magna Carta, obtained by the Barons, sword in hand, from King John…. It is evident, therefore, that according to their primitive signification, they have no application to constitutions professedly founded upon the power of the people, and executed by their immediate representatives and servants. Here, in strictness, the people surrender nothing, and as they retain everything, they have no need of particular reservations. “We the people of the United States, to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Here is a better recognition of popular rights than volumes of those aphorisms which make the principal figure in several of our state bills of rights, and which would sound much better in a treatise of ethics than in a constitution of government…. I go further and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and in the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers which are not granted; and on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why for instance, should it be said, that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming that power. ( Alexander Hamilton, Federalist, no. 84, 575-581, 28 May 1788) Supporters of the bill of rights argued that a list of rights would and should not be interpreted as exhaustive; i.e. that these rights were examples of important rights that people had, but that people had other rights as well. People in this school of thought were confident that the judiciary would interpret these rights in an expansive fashion.

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