The position of U.S. Attorney was created by the Judiciary Act of 1789, one of the earliest enactments of the first Congress. Prior to 1870, U.S. Attorneys were accountable directly to the President and performed their duties with little oversight. After the Department of Justice was created in 1870, a formal reporting relationship was established between U.S. Attorneys and the Attorney General, empowering the Attorney General to superintend the trial level work of the U.S. Attorneys.
Today there are 93 U.S. Attorneys who serve in 94 federal judicial districts (one U.S. Attorney serves both the District of Guam and the District of the Northern Mariana Islands). U.S. Attorneys are appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate.
U.S. Attorneys serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. Each U.S. Attorney is the chief federal law enforcement officer of the United States within his or her district, and exercises wide discretion in the use of resources to further the priorities of the district and needs of its communities.
As part of the U.S. Department of Justice, we are responsible for most federal litigation in Maryland. This includes criminal prosecutions for violations of federal law, civil lawsuits by and against the government, and actions to collect judgments and restitution for victims and taxpayers.