United States Attorneys are appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the United States Senate and serve at the pleasure of the President directly under the Attorney General. The United States Attorney is the highest ranking official of the Department of Justice in the Middle District of Tennessee. An interim United States Attorney may be appointed for 120 days by the Attorney General for the Department of Justice. The District Court may continue this interim appointment until a Presidential appointee takes office.
Assistant United States Attorneys are appointed by the Attorney General upon the recommendation of the United States Attorney.
Special Assistant United States Attorneys (SAUSAs) may be appointed by the United States Attorney, however, they are not employees of the United States Attorney’s office.
Support staff members are hired by the United States Attorney.
About the Department of Justice
The United States Department of Justice has been described as the largest law office in the world and the peoples law firm. The Attorney General is the Chief Legal Officer for the United States. The Department of Justice, which performs many law enforcement functions, is the Attorney General's staff. Employees of the Department of Justice are stationed throughout the United States and its territories, performing many law enforcement functions in addition to providing legal services to the United States.
The Department of Justice consists of individual divisions, offices, and commissions within what is referred to as Main Justice as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), Bureau of Prisons (BOP), United States Marshals Service (USMS), Office of Justice Programs (OJP) and Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA).
Although the Office of the Attorney General was created by the Judiciary Act of 1789, the Department of Justice did not come into being until 1870 when it was established by Congress as one of the executive departments of government with the Attorney General at its head.
One of the primary responsibilities of the Department of Justice is to represent the United States in Court. Attorneys in the general offices of the other departments and agencies perform day to day legal duties for the United States Government, such as negotiation of contracts, settlement of complaints, and providing legal advice to other government officials. However, when a department or agency is involved in or is contemplating litigation, the matter is generally referred to the Department of Justice.
With certain exceptions, the bulk of litigation functions of the Department of Justice is performed by the 94 United States Attorney's Offices and their staffs. This is particularly true in criminal cases. With regard to most violations of federal criminal law, the United States Attorneys have broad discretion to initiate, pursue, or decline criminal prosecutions.