« AnteriorContinuar »
430. Department of Justice. The head of this Department is the Attorney-General, who is the responsible adviser of the President and the heads of the other Executive Departments on matters of law. He and his assistants look after the interests of the Government in the courts, prosecuting or defending law suits to which the United States are a party, and passing upon the titles of all lands purchased by the Government for forts or public buildings. There are in the Department a Solicitor General, four Assistant Attorney-Generals, two Solicitors of the Treasury, a Solicitor of Internal Rev. enue, a naval Solicitor, and an Examiner of Claims for the Department of State. The District Attorneys in the different judicial districts are also under the direction of the Attorney-General.
431. Post - Office Department. — Subject to the President, the Postmaster-General is the head of the vast postal service of the country. He has a larger number of subordinates than all the other heads of Departments together. The First Assistant Postmaster-General has charge of salaries and allowances, free delivery, moneyorders, dead letters, and correspondence. The Second Assistant has charge of the transportation of mails, including contracts, inspection, railway adjustments, mail equipment, railway mail service, and foreign mails. The Third Assistant has general charge of the finances of the department, including accounts and drafts, postage stamps and stamped envelopes, registered letters and classification of mail matter, special delivery and official files and indexes. The Fourth Assistant has general charge of appointments, including bonds and commissions, appointment of post-office inspectors, depredations on the mails, and violations of the postal laws.
432. Department of the Navy.—The Secretary of the Navy stands to this Department in the same relation that the Secretary of War stands to the War Department. There is one Assistant Secretary. The several bureaus of the department are: Yards and Docks, Equipment and Recruiting, Navigation, Ordnance, Medicine and Surgery, Provisions and Clothing, Steam Engineering, Construction and Repairs. The Military Academy at Annapolis is also subject to the Secretary of the Navy.
433. Department of the Interior.—The business intrusted to the Department of the Interior is much more miscellaneous and diversified in character than that intrusted to any other Department. The Secretary has general oversight of the Patent Office, Census Office, General Land Office, and Pension Office, Indian affairs, Public Buildings, and the Bureau of Education. The most extensive of these subordinate offices is that of Pensions, which disburses $140,000,000 annually. The Commissioner of Education collects facts and statistics in regard to education and publishes them in an annual report. There are two Assistant Secretaries of the Interior.
434. Department of Agriculture.—It is the duty of the Secretary of Agriculture to diffuse among the people useful information on the subject of agriculture, in the most general and comprehensive sense of that term. He has the supervision of all quarantine regulations for the detention and examination of cattle exported and imported that may be subject to contagious diseases. The Weather Bureau, over which “ Old Probabilities ” presides, is in this Department. There is one Assistant Secretary.
435. The Cabinet.—The heads of the eight Departments constitute what is called the Cabinet. This name, however, is a popular and not a legal one. The
law creates the Departments and defines the duties of their heads. The Constitution empowers the President to call for the opinions in writing of these officers on matters relating to their several duties. The heads of Departments are responsible to the country so far as their duties are definedby law; for the rest they are responsible to the President. They meet frequently with the President to discuss public business. The President defers more or less, as he pleases, to the views that they offer, as he does to the views that they expressed singly in writing or in conversation, but the Cabinet as such has no legal existence and is not responsible. No official record is made of its meetings. The Constitution makes the President alone accountable for the faithful execution of the laws. Heads of Departments hold their offices subject to the President's will; but he holds, with exceptions given, four years."
1 See the Cabinet and the President's responsibility. See The American Government, paragraphs 522, 523, 524, and Note.
THE JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT. The American Government. Sections 525-577. The third of the independent branches of the Government of the United States created by the Constitution is the Judiciary. Its functions and organization will now be described.
436. Judicial Power Defined. It is the business of the judiciary to interpret the law and apply it to the ordinary affairs of life. The judiciary does not make the law, but it declares what is law and what is not. This it does in the trial of cases, popularly called lawsuits. A case is some subject of controversy on which the judicial power can act when it has been submitted in the manner prescribed by law. It is particularly to be noted that the judicial power is strictly limited to the trial and determination of cases. Some cases involve questions of law, some questions of fact, some questions of both fact and law, and all come within the scope of the judicial power. A court is a particular organization of judicial power for the trial and determination of cases at law.
437. Vesting the Judicial Power.-The judicial power of the United States is vested in one Supreme Court and in such inferior courts as Congress sees fit to ordain and establish. The Constitution thus creates the Supreme Court, and it also provides that its head shall be the Chief Justice of the United States. At the present time the inferior courts are the District Court, the Circuit Court, the Circuit Court of Appeals, the
Court of Claims, and the Courts of the District of Columbia and the Territories.
438. Extent of the Judicial Power.—The judicial power is co-extensive with the sphere of the National Government. Itembraces all cases that may arise under the Constitution and the laws of the United States, and the treaties entered into with foreign nations. It includes all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls; all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisprudence; cases to which the United States are a party; cases that arise between two or more States, or between a State and foreign states; cases between citizens of different States, and cases between citizens of the same State who claim lands granted by different States, and cases between citizens of a State and foreign states, citizens, or subjects.
439. Kinds of Jurisdiction.—A court has jurisdiction of a case or suit at law when it may try it, or take some particular action with regard to it. There are several kinds of jurisdiction. A court has original jurisdiction of a case when the case may be brought or begun in that court. It has appellate jurisdiction when it may re-hear or re-examine a case that has been decided or has been begun in some inferior court. The methods by which this is done are called appeal and writ of error. An appeal brings up the whole question, both law and fact, for re-examination; a writ of error, the law only. A court has exclusive jurisdiction of a case when it is the only court that can ry it or can dispose of it in some particular manner. Two or more courts have concurrent jurisdiction of a case when either one may try it, provided the case comes properly before it.
440. The District Court.-Congress has created seventy-two Judicial Districts, in each one of which a Dis.